Have you ever wished you could do more to help others out? That is a feeling that many people share. The problem is, many want to help those less fortunate, but don’t know where to start. Randy Lewis, author of “No Greatness Without Goodness,” believes that everyone—including businesses—are responsible for making the world a better place. Furthermore, according to a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, “happier people give more and giving makes people happier, such that happiness and giving may operate in a positive feedback loop (with happier people giving more, getting happier, and giving even more).”
Fortunately, you don’t have to travel far and wide or donate to organizations that you don’t fully trust in order to give back. You may be able to find some opportunities right in your backyard. Here’s a few ways you can get started with giving back to your community:
Donate Some Items
Many families in neighborhoods around the world struggle to support their daily lives. When you donate household goods, you’re helping another family create a better home and environment for their children. Comb through your house and put a sticky notes on everything you don’t use or need. This could be anything from an old coffee maker to a pair of shoes.
Once you’ve gathered all the items you no longer need, you can choose to donate it to local organizations or host a yard sale and donate the proceeds to a local charity. Alternatively, you can consider hosting your own clothing or food drive, and donate the items you receive in bulk.
Visit a Senior Center
Visiting an assisted living home is a great way to give back to the community and make a difference. Many seniors are forgotten or don’t have families of their own to keep them company and spend quality time with them, and visiting them enhances their quality of life, giving them something to look forward to.
Just like everyone else, seniors need some compassion and company too, especially those who don’t have family members to visit them. Many senior homes have programs and events that create the perfect opportunity for you to get involved. If you aren’t sure what to expect, you can visit the home ahead of time by scheduling a tour and letting the admin team know that you’re interesting in doing a volunteer visit. You can even come up with your own ideas and pitch it to the senior home in question. For example, why not gather a few friends and have a game night at your senior center?
Serve at a Food Kitchen
Food kitchens aren’t just popular during the holiday season. In many neighborhoods around the world, people rely on them for daily meals. According to DoSomething.org, 1 in 6 Americans face hunger. Furthermore, more than 1 in 5 children are at risk for hunger; for minorities, the statistics are even worse.
The USDA defines “food insecurity” as the lack of access or inability to feed all household members at all times. Households with children are significantly more likely to experience food insecurity than those without. If you do a little research, you’ll find that there’s likely a food donation center not too far away. Contact your local food kitchen about what you can expect as a volunteer, what you can do to prepare, and whether you can bring anything to aid the process.
Soup kitchens and food donation centers rely on people who are able to donate their time, and you’ll meet many interesting people, from those that you serve food to, to the other volunteers helping beside you.
Visit a Homeless Shelter
Like a soup kitchen or food donation center, a homeless shelter is a good way to gain a deeper understanding of how other people live, and to make a contribution to their lives. Research homeless centers in your area; you may have to travel a bit more to find the nearest center, but it will be well worth your time.
One thing you may learn about being in a homeless shelter is that many of the preconceived notions you have about homeless people are wrong. As you learn about different people and start to hear their stories—especially if you come back time and time again—you find out that there are many reasons people end of homeless. Some people had no family to guide them, while others were hardworking people who lost jobs and were never able to pick themselves back up. The more you work with homeless people, the more likely you are to learn gratitude and humility.
This is a collaborative guest post. The views and ideas expressed are not necessarily those of Mommy Ramblings.