Most of us today live very hectic lives, our days, nights and weekends filled with work, school, chores, errands and family obligations. Although most of us would really like to help others, to give something back and get more involved in our community, we don’t always know what we can do and we often find ourselves too busy or too tired to find out.
Best ideas for helping others
The opportunities for helping others are many. Consider some of the following ideas that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine and also throughout the year.
- Make an effort every day to extend a kind word or a thoughtful gesture to someone. It only takes a minute, costs absolutely nothing and can really brighten a person’s day. Smile at a stranger. Hold a door open for someone carrying heavy packages – simple gestures but they will be appreciated.
- When shopping at the grocery store, pick up a few extra non-perishables and store them in a container at home. When the container is full, deliver it to your local community food pantry.
- Help the environment and go green. Recycle your waste. Cut back on energy, fuel and electricity usage. Carpool or use mass transportation whenever possible. Respect the air, land, rivers and all of Earth’s other natural resources.
- Take your gently used clothing, furniture and housewares to your local Salvation Army, Goodwill or other local charity when you no longer need them. If you have children, get them involved also, instilling early on the importance of helping others. Place a bin in a closet or in the garage and encourage your children to put their outgrown clothes, toys and books in it, to be donated later to a local charity. Never throw anything out that could be useful to someone else.
- Grow your own fruits and vegetables. Make your own environmentally-friendly compost. Get closer to nature, enjoy the gardening experience and share your harvest with your family and friends.
- Check in on your elderly and lonely neighbors, especially if they have no relatives living close by. A slice of homemade pie, a few minutes of friendly visiting, a trip to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription – all can bring some happiness and comfort to someone who is lonely, frightened or disabled.
There are also many other opportunities for charitable giving that can be done in addition to your daily acts of charity. Consider donating some of your time or blood to a local Red Cross blood drive. Consider helping out at a food bank or soup kitchen. Volunteer as a friendly visitor or companion in a nursing home or hospital. Offer to be a driver for someone needing a ride to the store or to a doctor’s appointment.
If you belong to a civic or social organization such as a garden club, bridge club, church group or senior center, get together with the other members and come up with an idea for some charitable activities that can be done throughout the year. Adopt a family during the Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah holidays and prepare a huge food basket. Plan an Arbor Day event in April and plant some trees to beautify your community. Organize a winter coat drive or a pet food drive. Get involved with Habitat for Humanity or start a similar program in your own neighborhood. Knit some baby blankets, hats and mittens for needy children.
You could even donate your time on getting the word out on the benefits of drug treatment programs for those in need of the help – the possibilities are endless!
Acts of charity are important, both for fulfilling your own life and also for improving the lives of others. Get your whole family involved. Start each day by being thankful for all that you have and then find a way to share your good fortune with those less fortunate. The first step is the hardest; once you’ve begun the journey, charitable giving begins to fuel itself.