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6 Affordable Ways to Give Back to Your Community

Research proves that volunteering combats depression, helps improve self-esteem and keeps you physically healthy. There’s a happiness effect when you give back to your community. Volunteering can help you in your career or business through networking and experience. Many people give money to charities to help others, but there’s something very special about giving your time to help others. When you reach out, you connect to other people. You make your community a better place. Here are six ideas to give back to your neighbors. 

Volunteer at Your Pet Shelter

Local animal rescue shelters rely on volunteers and donations to take care of stray animals. You could help clean up or engage with the animals to give them attention. Strays need socialization to help them get adopted. If you love animals, you may even decide to take one home or help foster one to be adopted.

Participate in a Local Food or Clothing Drive

Donate gently used items and clothing or food to a local clothing drive. Offer to help collect, sort and pass out items. Learn more about local options in Oakland by visiting Sullivan Community Space About Us. Most food banks are always stretched thin on staff, so any help you can offer frees the team up to focus on the mountains of administrative tasks behind the scenes.

Support Small Businesses and Local Events

Attend the local choir program at your school. Go to craft shows and shop with local artists. Buy tickets for local theater groups. Attend events and classes at Sullivan Community Space. Get your car washed by the cheerleaders. Go to sports events. You’re not only keeping your money in your community, but you’re also supporting local families who are doing the same.

Perform Random Acts of Kindness

Buy lunch for someone when you go to your local diner. Mow your neighbor’s yard or rake leaves. Shovel driveways for elderly neighbors who may not be as steady on their feet. Take flowers to your friend just because you wanted to make her smile. Fill up someone’s gas tank one day when you’re getting your own gas. Do something nice for someone in your community. 

Show Public Servants How Much You Appreciate Them

Police, EMTs, firefighters and other public servants work tirelessly in their community, often for much less than they would make in the private sector. Do something to let them know that their service doesn’t go unnoticed. Write an editorial for the paper. Send thank you notes. Drop off something yummy or have a meal catered for them for a shift.

Donate to Your Local Homeless Shelter

Take blankets, winter coats and gloves or socks to a homeless shelter. Low on money? Take yourself and visit with people who are homeless. A conversation with someone who listens can mean a lot to someone who is surviving on the streets. You don’t have to fix their problems. You’re just offering your ear and some time.

Ask Around to See Who Needs Help

Talk to a local clergy person to see if they know a family who could use groceries or some kind of help. Ask your domestic violence organization what they need. There may be a family at your work who is going through a difficult time and could use an extra tank of gas to get back and forth to medical treatments. A neighbor could tell you of another neighbor who can’t take care of their garden right now. Talk to your friends and family to see where you can step in and give assistance.

It doesn’t take a big pocketbook to give back to your community. You just need an investment of time and effort to let others in your community know that someone cares.  


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