GIVING BACK BY Elmer George
Ways To Give Back To Your Community
Life can be hectic. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of it all and forget that so many
people have far less than we do. During the holidays, we’re often reminded that people are in
need, but their needs extend far beyond the holiday season. Fortunately, there are plenty of
ways to give back to others in your community and beyond. Volunteering with or donating to
nonprofit organizations is a great way to start.
Keep reading for additional ideas on how to help those in need throughout the year, presented
to you below by Faith Baptist Church.
Involve the Whole Family
If you have kids in your life, get them involved to teach them the benefits of helping others. In
addition to asking them to join you in volunteering efforts, give them the chance to give back on
their own through an allowance. Parents suggests setting up a three bucket approach to
allowance or other received money. Kids are encouraged to divide their money into savings,
spending, and donating. Then, you and your child can decide where to give the donation when
they have saved a bit.
Take the kids with you when you volunteer. These can be incredible learning experiences where
kids understand the value of their service and money, and see that the world can be very
different for other people. The kids will also see a new side of you, and your passion for this or
other causes might just rub off on them.
Sadly, many people don’t have the right clothes to comfortably make it through the year. Winter
is hard on kids and adults alike who don’t have warm coats or shoes, but every season is a
challenge for parents trying to keep up with their growing child’s needs. If you have extra
clothing in your closet that you’re not using, you can donate those items to people who need
them. Get the kids involved in this practice, too. Help them to understand that their lightly used
clothes and toys can make a huge difference for kids with less than them. Alternatively, you
could purchase new items and donate them to shelters.
Humans aren’t the only ones who are in need of food and supplies. Whether it’s a municipal
shelter or a private rescue, many animal shelters operate under very limited resources.
Unfortunately, those same shelters often see an uptick in pet surrenders over the holidays.
Make sure homeless animals in your community are cared for by donating dog and cat food,
litter, and other items on a local shelter’s wish list. What’s more, you don’t need to make a
special trip to the pet food aisle if you feel called to feed homeless pets. Bark suggests thinking
outside the box and sharing foods like peanut butter, canned tuna, and meat-based baby food.
Help a Senior Neighbor
Many seniors live alone, but keeping up with a house becomes increasingly challenging with
age. You can make that burden a little bit easier by giving the gift of yard care. Yardwork is one
of the hardest household tasks for seniors with limited mobility. Since the cost of professional
lawn care can be fairly expensive, it can be a financial burden as well. You or your child can
give a couple of hours each week to mowing, raking, trimming, and other outdoor tasks to keep
a senior neighbor’s home looking great.
Also, taking a senior neighbor for a walk can be a great way to help out. If you live in a
neighborhood with a high walk score, there should be plenty of places nearby to explore. Parks,
restaurants, and shops are all excellent destinations for an afternoon stroll that will get both you
and your senior companion some fresh air and exercise. Walks can be a fun and engaging
activity while also providing the opportunity to deepen your relationship.
This suggestion might seem simple, but it may actually be the best way to give back to your
community. Shopping from local stores and local producers helps your fellow community
members make a living. Having a thriving small business scene in your area sustains the
community’s unique character. The best thing about giving back to the community by shopping
locally is the fact that, if you buy from a local store, the money you pay stays in the
community instead of being sent out of the area to wherever the large corporations are based.
And if you shop local, there’s a chance that the money you spend in small local stores may find
its way back into your pocket someday.
Instead of frequenting large shopping malls or commercial centers, look for areas with high walk
scores that are dappled with local businesses. Not only will you and your family get some
exercise, but you’ll also be able to connect with community members and invest in more local stores and
restaurants. Spending time in your community can also give you a good idea of what your
community members may need, too.
Volunteer to Feed the Hungry
Shelters and services that serve the homeless and hungry often serve a special dinner on major
holidays. However, it can be hard to find enough hands to serve meals to everyone who needs
one. Volunteering at a local soup kitchen not only fills that gap but also gives your own family an
opportunity to bond and learn more about the needs of your community. You can also help food
pantries by donating cash or goods — including personal hygiene products.
Seasonal Giving for Kids
Every child deserves a gift over the holidays, but not every family can afford to buy presents.
Sponsoring a toy drive is a wonderful way to help families in your area. Link up with a local
agency that serves low-income families to ensure your gifts go to families in need. Advertise
your drive, and set up drop-off points for new and used toys. You can also collaborate with an
organization like Toys for Tots and collect gifts from neighbors and coworkers to drop off.
No one wants to spend the holidays in the hospital, especially kids. You can make the days of
sick children a bit brighter by bringing unused books, toys, and craft supplies to a nearby
children’s hospital. Don’t forget to bring a special treat for the nurses, doctors, and staff working
around the clock to provide their care.
Start Your Own Nonprofit
If you see a need in your community that isn’t being met, consider starting your own nonprofit
organization. Nonprofits can benefit you and the community through tax-deductible donations
and contributions to the community. Starting one requires a few steps and registration with the
IRS, but there are great companies that can help guide you through the process. You’ll want to
invest in good, reputable accounting software too. Your investors and Board of Directors will
want to know where your money goes, so accounting software is a must.
There are many ways you can give back to the community, and teach the kids in your life to do
the same. Don’t leave your generous spirit for the holidays. There are great nonprofits out there
to which you can give time and resources, and if you can’t find one that addresses a need you
see, then start your own. If you make it a point to support those in need year-round, everyone –
including you – will benefit!