Family * Travel * Food

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.  


Tips to Fight Back During Hunger Action Month

  1. Advocate. Use your voice to spread the word about hunger in your community. Social media has made this quite easy to do. Alert your online community that we are in the midst of Hunger Action Month and about the plight of the hungry in their own backyards. Share quotes and statistics about hunger and ask them to support their local hunger relief organization.
  2. Volunteer. Most food banks, pantries and soup kitchens rely on volunteers to make their operations work. Volunteers can sort donations, stock shelves and help with distribution. Volunteers can also frequently help from home in the form of virtual volunteering. Contact your local hunger relief organization to see if you can utilize your specific skills to help them with business operations like accounting, marketing, website and administration.
  3. Run a food drive. You can really increase your impact by organizing your own food drive. Food drives run in conjunction with your company, school, church or group tend to have the best results. And, always add an online component to your traditional drive (or run your online drive alone). Use to run an online drive for your local food pantry. The online drive service is free to use, easy to share on social media, and simple for supporters to shop online for brand-new most-needed food items which are shipped directly to the pantry at the close of the drive.
  4. Donate money. Hunger relief organizations need monetary donations to operate. Any size donation will be welcomed.
  5. Donate food. Don't just walk by the donation bin at your school, store or company. Make a point to donate food whenever the opportunity arises.

Teachers are the best

Today the parents at my girls' middle school are doing a luncheon for all the teachers for Valentine's Day. The theme is a soup and salad lunch and the volunteer coordinator rounded up moms to get their crock pots ready! I volunteered to make my famous chili that my family so loves. The girls say "it tastes so good, makes you wanna slap yo mama!" Can you guess who might have taught them that one?? I had to let the family 'sample' the chili to be sure if would be safe for the teachers. Well it passed their test and they asked if we could just keep it for ourselves and say I forgot today was the luncheon. Sneaky little devils!

I also baked cornbread muffins since my kids refused to let me buy pre-made ones. I had to label them so they would keep their greedy hands off! Dwayne still thought he was getting one. He says how would the teachers know there was one missing? Typical Dwayne. He was mad at my label. ha ha!! Dwayne, you can talk about me tomorrow for Vent Day Wednesday.

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