I always feel so incredibly blessed during this time of year. Despite having spent all of my money on Christmas gifts and having usually gained 5+ lbs thanks to all of the holiday cookies in the office, January is a rose-tinted month for me in every way. Maybe it’s the last of the high from spending time with family on Christmas or the fact that the year is still so fresh, I’m extremely grateful for everything and everyone in my life.
So why not spread the love through giving back to the community?
I feel like there’s this idea that you need tons of money and/or tons of time to give back to the community, but that really isn’t the case! All you have to do is combine your passions and talents and you can make a big difference for someone else.
Here are a few easy ideas to give back to the community:
Coach a local youth team
I was actually talking about this with my boyfriend this past weekend and he said that this is something that he really wants to get involved in once he’s more settled. In high school I used to coach my sister’s recreational soccer team and also volunteered in a program called ‘Soccer Buddies,’ where I worked with special needs children every Saturday. Neither took up much of my time but were so much fun and totally worth the few hours commitment.
Donate clothes to Goodwill
Cleaning out your closet is surprisingly therapeutic, as I’ve discovered in the past few weeks. Plus I find Goodwill’s mission statement to be truly inspirational and believe that no matter a person’s circumstances, they should be provided employment.
Cook at the Ronald McDonald House
My sorority’s main philanthropy when I was in college was The Ronald McDonald House and while we would do the normal monetary fundraising, my favorite volunteer opportunity was when we got to cook for the families staying in the house. Cooking is always fun, as is hanging out with friends for an hour or two, but knowing that you’re helping a family with a sick child, even in such a small way, is truly moving.
Visit local seniors
I love my grandparents and see them fairly regularly, so I can’t imagine them living in a home with no family to visit. Go hang out with them and talk with them, because we all know older people have the most bad ass stories of growing up!
Confession: I’ve never given blood before. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time now but the idea of putting a needle in my arm makes me little queasy. It’s so easy though and can help so many different people, that I’ll eventually get over my fear and do it.
Buy local and from brands that you know give back with every purchase made
Buying local, whether it’s clothes or food, is always so much for me because you’re getting unique items that aren’t being replicated all over the world/ aren’t being exploited by big corporations for their own gain.
Run for charities
With all of the New Year’s resolutions to be fitter and healthier, this idea is almost too easy! You can either run in a race hosted by your favorite charity or spread the word through friends, family, and social media that you’re raising money for your favorite charity and are looking for donation pledges.
Become an organ donor
Out of all the ideas I listed above, becoming an organ donor is definitely the easiest. All you have to do is hit a yes button while getting your driver’s license and you’re all set up. This way if anything happens, you can improve and maybe even save the lives of others and just one organ donor can save up to eight lives.
I also participate in monthly monetary donations to various charities but if you’re interested in doing so, make sure to do your homework! I’d recommend checking out Charity Navigator to be sure that your charity of choice is really using the donations received for what they say they will do.
What are your favorite ways to give back to the community?