Classic Hollywood Inspires Us During the Season of Giving

December is fondly recognized as the month of giving, and a little throwback to the 1950s and 1960s is sure to inspire you to give to the less fortunate.

Why? Well, Hollywood stars are known for their on-screen or musical performances, but there are also those who have used their fame to raise importance on a cause. The holiday season is the time to share kindness, love, and gifts more than ever. For decades there have been organizations seeking support, such as the March of Dimes, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the United Service Organizations. Here are some ways in which classic Hollywood stars have taken their time to help those in need — and just know that you, too, can make this season a wonderful time for someone else!

Image credit: Elvis Presley Facebook
Image via Elvis Presley Facebook

Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe offered their support for the March of Dimes in the 1950s. The organization was created by former president Franklin D. Roosevelt when polio was on the rise. The organization funded research for vaccines that eventually ended the polio epidemic in the United States. Once that goal was accomplished, the March of Dimes has focused on preventing birth defects, infant mortality, and premature birth. You can help the March of Dimes by volunteering at local events, teaching your community about the organization, or giving donations.

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital opened in 1962 by founding entertainer Danny Thomas, who wanted to build a hospital where children with cancer, sickle cell, and other diseases could receive treatment. You can raise money with events hosted at your school or job or with local events with contributions going to St. Jude’s; and, you can create a holiday card for the children.

Image credit: War-Stories
Image via War-Stories

Just like the children, American troops and animals also need people to spread awareness about their causes to gather volunteers and donations. The United Service Organizations is a non-profit that has offered programs, services, and entertainment for troops and their families since 1941. Actresses and singers Marilyn Monroe, Ann-Margret, and comedian Bob Hope were some of the many stars to provide holiday cheer for the soldiers.

Image credit: rareaudreyhepburn
Image credit: rareaudreyhepburn

Stars like Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot were philanthropists for organizations they were passionate about and then later founded their own organization or had one named in their honor. Audrey Hepburn was a supporter of UNICEF, the program that, among other humanitarian rights, offers shelter, food, and education to children in poor countries. She gave back to UNICEF, which helped her as a child during World War II. After her death, the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund and the Audrey Hepburn Society continue to raise world awareness and provide support for children in developing countries. French actress Brigitte Bardot became an activist for animal rights in the 1970s, and she later founded the Foundation Brigitte Bardot.

It’s not just about giving during the holiday season, but it’s also about giving throughout the upcoming year. You can volunteer some of your time at soup kitchens to feed the homeless and their families, donate blood at your local blood bank, or help care for dogs and cats at your town’s animal shelter. How will you plan to spread joy this holiday season?

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