Give Back and Volunteer To A Cause That Your Passionate About
Volunteering is a powerful way to give back to your community. You can easily donate your time and your money to organizations who are dedicated to helping those in need. Whether you decide to get out on your own and do some good, volunteer at a non-profit or work with an organization like VolunteerMatch that pairs volunteers with nonprofits in need—there are so many ways to give back to your community.
The best part about giving back is that you can choose a cause that you are passionate about so that you are partnering with an organization that you really care about. Whether you want to support the arts, work with children, or work with animals—there are so many ways that you can better the community you live in by giving back. Here are a few examples of how you can do more for your local area.
Donate to Holiday Food Drives
The holidays are a great time to give back to others and to really start getting in the giving spirit. While so many people get caught up with gifts, parties and celebrations during the holidays, it is easy to forget that there are a lot of people, even those in your community, who are not as fortunate. In fact, there are many people who want nothing more than a meal during the holidays.
This is why holiday food drives are such a great way to give back. Depending on the individual food drive, the canned goods collected may go to a homeless shelter, women’s shelter or even a home for the elderly. There are so many ways that you can support these local food drives too. You can donate your time, you can donate cans from your pantry, or you can set up your own collection at the office or among friends to collect extra canned goods for those in need. No matter how you choose to get your collection of canned goods, a small donation of a few extra pantry items can truly change the life of someone in need in your community.
Support Local Farmers
Many people don’t realize how much support their local farmers need. Farmers are important members of every community, and they don’t always get the support that they need in order to keep their farms up and running.
Here are a few ways that you can support local farmers:
Shop at farmers markets instead of heading to the big-box grocery stores.
Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. You can buy a share in order to get fresh, farm-picked goodies delivered right to your home.
Eat at local farm-to-table restaurants. This is a fun way to support local farms while still getting to enjoy eating out. There are many different farm-to-table restaurants popping up in communities around the country—plus it is a great way to eat out without worrying about GMOs, chemicals and unnecessary hormones.
Go to local grocers. There are many local grocers who stock their produce sections with items from local farmers and have cheeses, jams, jellies and canned goods for sale from farmers in your community.
Supporting local farmers not only helps other community members and supports small businesses, but it can help you eat a more natural and healthier diet as well.
There is always a constant need for a healthy supply of blood, and while donating blood is a big commitment and sacrifice, it is one that can literally save the life of someone in your community. There are limits on who can donated blood and how often you can donate blood.
The Red Cross is always hosting different blood drives around the country, or you can go in to your local Red Cross office to donate. In order to donate blood you must:
Be at least 16-years old
Be in good health and feeling well
Weigh at least 110 pounds
You are also only allowed to donate blood every 56 days. There are other health issues that may prevent you from donating blood, and your local Red Cross office will be able to fill you in more on what those health limitations are. No matter what your blood type may be, there is always a need for extra blood supplies.
If you are brave enough to take on the responsibility, you can support your local community by being a volunteer firefighter. Most communities around the country are constantly on the lookout for volunteer firefighters to help out. There are different requirements for being a volunteer firefighter, depending on your individual area. However, typically, volunteer firefighters need at least 100 hours of training, EMT training and at least a high-school diploma. The primary responsibility of a volunteer firefighter is to provide additional support and assistance to professional firefighters when they need extra manpower on the scene of a fire.
Girl or Boy Scout Leader
The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts have been around for a long time and these clubs are a great way to teach young boys and girls valuable skills for the future while promoting important skills like teamwork and leadership. Local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops are always looking for leaders in the community to help organize these meetings and to help provide kids with a positive mentor that they can rely on. There are many ways to get involved with Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, even if you didn’t participate in the organization yourself as a child. If you aren’t able to commit your time during the year to be a leader, you can also volunteer at some of the summer camps for Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. If you are looking for more information, simply contact your regional Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts office.
The Big Brother/Big Sister organization is one of the most established youth mentorship programs in the United States. There are programs around the country for young people in need. When you sign up to be a Big Brother or a Big Sister you are signing up to help mentor someone who could really use a shoulder to lean on. Through this program you can help shade a child’s future for the better by enjoying different activities with your “little” that you get through the program. The organization will match volunteers with a “little brother” or “little sister” in their area. The organization also accepts donations for their program, volunteers for their Big Brother and Big Sister events and they have workplace mentoring programs. These mentoring programs allow students to visit real workplaces and work one-on-one with successful professionals to learn more about their potential career opportunities in the future. You can get more involved with this type of workplace mentorship program by visiting a local Big Brothers Big Sisters office.
A local community garden can do a great deal for your neighborhood, and it is something that you can not only enjoy, but that others in your neighborhood can enjoy as well. In addition to finding the land you need and getting the supplies required to help build this community garden—you can also research any available grants in your area. There are many organizations, such as local grocery stores and local nurseries that will give grants to community members that want to start and maintain their own community garden. Just make sure you have a plan for how you can get other members in the area to work at and support this community garden so you can continue to maintain this garden and keep it going.
Assist the Elderly
There are so many ways that you can help seniors in your community. Many people don’t realize that there are elderly individuals living right in their neighborhood who are completely alone, and who have no one to support them during this time in their lives. There are more seniors than ever that are living in nursing home and who are suffering from serious loneliness and isolation. The good news is—there are things that you can do to help these individuals and to truly brighten their days and change them for the better.
There are many local senior centers, nursing homes and assisted living communities that are in search of volunteers to provide regular daily services.
Depending on the organization you are volunteering with, these services may include:
Helping seniors with outings or field trips
Assisting seniors with eating at meal time
Providing care for seniors when they dress and bathe
Playing games and doing arts and crafts with seniors during free time
There are so many elderly nursing homes that need volunteers to help with everyday activities such as this.
A community clean-up initiative is an easy way to give back to your neighborhood (and getting to enjoy the fruits of your labor). Reach out to your neighbors and pick a day to go around your community picking up trash. You may also want to repaint some park benches or even plant some flowers in areas that need a little attention. A community clean up is a great way to show some pride in your neighborhood and to make sure that your community looks its best. While working in your own neighborhood is a great way to showcase pride in where you live, you can also pay it forward with your clean-up efforts and organize a community clean up for a nearby neighborhood that may need a little extra attention.
Plant a Tree
Looking for an easy way to do some good in your neighborhood? Planting even a single tree can do a lot of good. It doesn’t take a lot of time, effort or money in order to plant a tree, and it is not only a way to beautify your community, but it is a great way to help the environment as well. While you can pick a spot in your community where a tree may thrive—there are also other organizations that can help with reforestation and tree planting. There are organizations such as TreePeople or the Arbor Day Organization that help organize larger tree planting efforts in neighborhoods around the country.
If you are looking to clean out your closet, all while doing a little good in your community—then there is no easier way than to donate clothing. One of the best things about donating clothing to those in need, is that there are so many ways you can do it. There are popular standbys such as Goodwill, where you can donate your unwanted clothing to the organization—which will in turn sell them at a discounted price for those who would otherwise be unable to afford it. You can also get a tax write-off by donating your clothes to organizations like this. There are also homeless shelters that accept clothing as well as larger organizations such as the Salvation Army. Either way, by donating clothing to an organization like this, instead of throwing your items away you can feel good knowing that your unwanted items can be another person’s treasure.
Participate in a Local Fundraiser
If there is something you are passionate about, whether it is raising money for local sports programs or donating to shelter animals in need, there are always fundraisers going on in communities across the country. The great thing about participating in local fundraisers is that you can choose a specific charity or organization that means something to you. While donating money is a great way to support a local fundraiser, it isn’t the only way that you can offer your assistance to organizations in need.
If you don’t have the cash, or are just looking to do something more hands-on, then you can contact the organization in charge of the fundraiser and ask to donate your time. There are so many fundraisers that need extra volunteers to set up, take down, sell raffle tickets or manage events as they are going on. All you need to do is take the first step in reaching out to a fundraiser you are passionate about.
Tutor a Student
If you are someone who wants to give back to their community in a more personal way and who really enjoys seeing the actual fruits of their labor—then tutoring a student is an easy way to see your efforts pay off. There are so many students out there who just need a little extra help and attention with their school work and who are simply unable to get the attention that they need at home or in the classroom. Tutoring can make a huge difference in their lives. If there is a specific subject that you are particularly proficient with, you can offer your tutoring services to community members through a local coffee shop, neighborhood message boards or sites like Craigslist. You can also sign up to be a tutor at a local tutoring center or thought one of your neighborhood’s after school programs.
Give Back and Volunteer To Your Local Community
If you are feeling motivated to start giving back to your community, there is no shortage of different ways you can volunteer. Consider contacting some of these local organizations in person to see how you can volunteer your time, or contact an organization like VolunteerNow to get paired with a non-profit in your area. No matter how you choose to give back, your community will not only benefit from your efforts, but you will feel good knowing that you are doing something to benefit others.
Shana Thompson is a full time professional writer and editor. Shana has worked extensively in the fields of content marketing, on-page and off-page SEO (guest posts, backlink acquisition), and creative writing. As an experienced pro content writer, Shana has worked on several magazines, publishing companies and marketing agencies. Many recent projects have included everything from nutrition and health services, where a lot of research and citations were needed, to writing about health, sustainable, eco-friendly products.
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