Now that the holiday season is in full swing, it’s easy to begin running up credit cards or spending wads of cash on expensive gifts that will eventually end up in a pile destined for the thrift shop.
But some Black celebrities, including Barack and Michelle Obama, Alicia Keys, LeBron James, and Oprah Winfrey, of course, prove that volunteering or donating to families in need, are some of the best holiday gifts people can give, or receive.
Here are six celebrity families who have made an art of giving:
Keys is co-founder of the HIV/AIDS charity Keep a Child Alive, and WE ARE HERE, an advocacy group that champions millennial activism. Both charities have helped scores of people as they work to tear down economic and social barriers. “My mother’s friend passed from AIDS,” the singer told PEOPLE in 2015. “I think I was 8 or 9 years old. I was old enough to know that he wasn’t there anymore and to ask for him.”
2.Barack & Michelle Obama
After leaving the White House in January, Barack and Michelle Obama continued their philanthropic work with the Obama Foundation, a so-called startup for citizenship. While at the White House the couple, alongside their daughters, Malia and Sasha, served up meals to homeless veterans at Thanksgiving, and volunteered on other occasions, representing holiday giving goals for all of us.
When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Beyoncé didn’t hesitate to show up to help flood victims. She and her daughter Blue Ivy served up meals to hurricane victims in the singer’s hometown of Houston, Texas. She also participated in the telethon Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey. One Christmas, she visited a Wal-Mart in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, and paid the first $50 of holiday gifts for 750 shoppers.
While the LeBron James Family Foundation is primarily focused on his hometown of Akron, Ohio, the charity also helps people outside of the midwestern city. The Cleveland Cavalier’s passion is education, and the foundation spends at least $1 million each year on programs to help elementary school students stay on track. It also provides assistance with adult education and students learn to code. He is also known for hosting the LeBron James Holiday Turkey Giveaway in Akron.
Oprah Winfrey’s philanthropic efforts are world-renowned. While most of her giving is focused on educational causes, including charter schools, programs that support Black children, and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa, her Favorite Things holiday giveaway is awe-inspiring.
Before Russell Simmons, the godfather of hip-hop, became better known for his social activism and philanthropy in recent years. Through his family’s Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, he helps to expose inner city youth to the arts. In the past, instead of turkeys, the yogi has donated, well, chances to practice yoga with him to folks in Los Angeles or New York.
“Each and every day I try to positively impact someone else,” he told The Huffington Post. ” During the holidays, and every day really, this is the most important message I can spread, people become busy and often lose sight of this. Good givers are great getters. Do something good for someone else, it helps bring you happiness too.”