Contributed by Jean Y.

Now that the holidays are over, there are still ways you can give back beyond the traditional season of giving.

Send packages to soldiers overseas.  Being away from family is difficult for soldiers. Sending them care packages of food or basic supplies is a great way to give thanks for their efforts.  You can also donate phone cards or a used cell phone to cell phones for soldiers.  Be sure not to pack food with cleaning products as the food will wind up tasting like soap.

Feed the hungry.  Many families do not have, nor can they afford to buy, the food needed to put together a holiday meal.  You can donate canned and non-perishable foods to a food bank or local shelter.  Monetary donations can be given to Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks.

Help the homeless.  People who are homeless obviously do not have a way to celebrate the holidays.  You can donate food, clothing and socks to your local homeless shelter. If you prefer to give money, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans helps feed the homeless and works towards changing policies to end homelessness.

Deliver meals to housebound people. The elderly and infirmed are not able to travel for the holidays.  If you have time and transportation, you can deliver meals to the homebound.   Contact  meals on wheels to find out how you can help.

Donate blood. Only 5% of Americans donate blood but blood is needed every two seconds.  Start a tradition and donate blood.

How do you help out in your community? We invite you share your favorite causes and how you contribute in the comment box below.