Helping others is one of the best ways to make a positive difference in the world. These days, it feels like there is a need waiting to be filled everywhere you look. Dedicating your time, money, and skills are just a few ways to give back.
Living in the service of others offers a wide range of benefits for those you’re assisting and for you. However, with countless causes to support, you may need to narrow down your choices. Here are eight ideas for serving those in need.
1. Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is
Monetary donations are one of the most direct ways to contribute to a cause. If you’re struggling to choose an organization to assist, select charities with a mission close to your heart or community.
You might write a check to your local food bank so they can keep shelves stocked to feed the hungry. You could donate to breast cancer support networks and research organizations in honor of the countless individuals affected by the disease. Wherever your sentiments and others’ needs coincide, you’ll find an incentive to reach into your pocketbook.
2. Deliver Meals to the Homebound
Volunteering with a local meals-on-wheels program helps some of the most vulnerable members of society. Some older individuals may have a more challenging time moving around, so taking dinner prep off their to-do list makes life easier.
In addition to ensuring good nutrition, dropping off a meal also provides a crucial source of social connection for elderly people. If you don’t want to get behind the wheel, consider lending a hand in food preparation or organizing.
3. Keep an Eye Out for Ways to Raise Money
While donating your own funds to charity is laudable, you can make an even bigger impact by encouraging others to do likewise. So consider ways to incorporate fundraising into your everyday life, whether for a special occasion or fun activity.
Running for charity is a common strategy for prompting people to dig into their pockets for a good cause. Popular social media sites like Facebook and Instagram also include features for fundraising. For example, you could create a fundraiser for your birthday in honor of a local nonprofit. Donating to one of your favorite causes is a wonderful way for friends and family to honor your special day.
4. Host a Food or Clothing Drive
Food and clothing are basic necessities all people need, but unfortunately, these essentials aren’t easy to come by for everyone. Hosting food and clothing drives allows your community to unite and provide critical lines of support to your neighbors.
Collecting coats, hats, gloves, and scarves could be a lifesaver to many in the cold winter months. In the summer, donations of window and oscillating fans can keep low-income residents cool. Come fall, a back-to-school drive is an excellent opportunity to gather supplies and set local children up for success. Workplaces, schools, recreational facilities, and religious centers are just some places to organize a charity drive.
5. Organize a Meal Train
A delicious, warm meal can be a tremendous source of comfort during trying times. Consider organizing a series of meals to be cooked and delivered to someone going through a big life transition.
Meal trains are a tremendous help to a friend who just had a baby or a family member recovering from surgery. A home-cooked dinner can also serve as a comfort to a loved one experiencing a loss. Food is a love language everyone can understand.
6. Become a Mentor
Your mentorship and wisdom can be a profoundly welcome source of guidance for a young person. Such relationships provide meaningful connections, a sense of purpose, and invaluable perspectives for all involved.
Organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters have chapters across the country that pair you with a youth who needs a mentor. These partnerships positively impact young people by increasing their self-confidence, instilling positive behaviors, and improving educational performance.
7. Take a Shelter Pup on a Walk
If you consider yourself an animal lover, local shelters are a fantastic place to dedicate your time and compassion. Volunteer to go on walks with dogs up for adoption to provide them fresh air, exercise, and social training.
Dogs require at least 30 minutes of daily exercise, and shelter staff don’t always have the resources to make that happen. A trek through the great outdoors will be beneficial for both of you. If you’re more feline-oriented, many shelters have playrooms where you can have fun and establish a connection with cats.
8. Visit With the Elderly
Nursing homes and residential care facilities offer opportunities to support some of the most vulnerable and often lonely people in your community. Visiting the elderly tremendously positively affects their quality of life, boosting both physical and mental health.
Social isolation can leave senior citizens feeling depressed and contribute to cognitive decline. Lending an ear can really brighten someone’s day and let them know they haven’t been forgotten. If you need help starting out, reach out to organizations that recruit and train volunteers to visit seniors.
Making a Difference
Opening your heart and wallet can make a real impact on the lives of people in your community. Once you start thinking of ways to lend a hand, you will be amazed at the endless number of opportunities available. Your compassion could be the key to unlocking the door to the greater good.
Volunteering your time and skills doesn’t only benefit those on the receiving end. Donating your resources can provide connections with others and bring joy to your life. You will feel happier and more fulfilled knowing you did something to make the world a little brighter for someone else.