10 Easy Ways to Get Yourself Involved in Charity
“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ― Anne Frank
With such busy lives it’s easy for us to fail to appreciate everything we are blessed to have, failing to think about how many people are less fortunate than us, fighting just to survive each and every day. Many people want to help, but don’t know where to start, and they feel like the problem is too big to fix. However, if we don’t take the first step nothing is ever going to change, and we’re always going to be stuck wondering about the what ifs? If you’ve thought about giving back, but didn’t know how to take the first step, here are 10 Easy Ways to Get Yourself Involved in Charity.
1. Keep a Box in Your Closet for Donations
With the holidays coming, it’s no secret that we’re all running around like chickens with their heads cut off, making sure our houses are clean and otherwise presentable for any holiday parties we may be hosting. Along your cleaning journey, you’re bound to find some “junk” around your house that you don’t seem to have any use for anymore. Keep a box in your closet, or a place of your choice, to collect items such as clothes, books, jewelry, or anything you feel you’re ready to part with. When the box is full, make a trip to your nearest drop-off center that will donate your items to local charities. It’s a simple way to give to those in need, and seeing the box there will remind you to keep an eye out for any items you don’t use or need anymore!
2. Check out VolunteerMatch
VolunteerMatch is an online community that matches you with nearby nonprofit organizations who are in need of volunteers. Currently, there are 110,483 participating organizations from all around the world, and more than 11 million volunteers have been matched since the organization first began. It’s free to join and you can search for local volunteer opportunities depending on things you’re interested in, from human rights, to animals, to arts and culture. It’s nearly impossible not to find a volunteer opportunity that sounds interesting to you!
3. Make Special Care Packages for the Homeless
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, in January 2015, 564,708 people were homeless on any given night in the United States, and 15% of these people were considered “chronically homeless.” Instead of walking past these 564,708 people on the street, it’s extremely simple to make a change and lend them a helping hand. If you’re too weary to give them cash, opt for something that you’re sure will help them, such as a care package! Fill a gallon Ziploc bag with essential toiletries, such as baby wipes, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and tampons. You can even add in a few extras, such as Band Aids, cough drops, and maybe even a notebook and a pencil. There are endless possibilities of items to throw in the care package, so get creative!
4. Volunteer at Your Local Soup Kitchen
Soup kitchens provide nourishing meals for the homeless and other underprivileged people, which is one of the basic necessities of life. Volunteering at a soup kitchen would place you in charge of various responsibilities, such as preparing and assembling the food, making sure the cooking environment is safe and clean, serving the food, and cleaning up afterwards. To volunteer at a soup kitchen, contact your local soup kitchen, shelter, or religious center.
5. Volunteer at Your Local Homeless Shelter
If you want to do more than just handing out care packages to homeless people, take it a step further and volunteer at your local homeless shelter. It’s important to find out why people become homeless in the first place, rather than immediately placing a stigma on them. Volunteering at your local homeless shelter gives you a first-hand look on how and why these people ended up the way they did, which will help give you a more open mind. And – giving them a helping hand will have you immediately feeling good about yourself on the inside.
6. Don’t Forget the Animals! Check out Your Local ASPCA
According to the ASPCA, each year approximately 7.6 million animals enter animal shelters nationwide-and nearly 3 million never make it out. In addition to so many animals not having a home, every 60 seconds an animal is abused. By visiting their website, you can find a list of animals who are in desperate need of homes. If you’re unable to adopt an animal though, you can still help! You can choose an amount of money you’d like to donate to this organization, choosing whether it be a one-time donation or a monthly donation. You can also look into collecting supplies that your local shelter needs – like food, blankets, and beds. Domesticated animals cannot survive without our help, and it’s time to put an end to animal mistreatment.
7. Answer an Underprivileged Child’s Letter to Santa
With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s easy to get caught up in the cheer and forget about those less fortunate than ourselves. Be an Elf is an online site where you can read real letters to Santa from needy kids, take home as many letters as you’d like, and directly donate a Christmas present to the children who wrote the letters. On their website you can find a list of the current postal branches who offer this program. Participating in this will have you catching the true spirit of the holidays, and putting smiles on the faces of needy kids on Christmas morning.
8. Offer to do Yard or House Work for an Elderly Neighbor
Charity doesn’t always have to involve you donating money to nonprofit organizations. It can be as simple as going to an elderly neighbor’s house and asking if they need any help around their house or yard, such as mowing the lawn or organizing a closet. A simple task such as this can be done whenever you find yourself with some extra free time, and you may even make a new friend in the process!
9. Choose a Different Organization Each Year to Donate Money to
If you desperately want to give back to the community but just can’t find the time to volunteer, then this is perfect for you. Choose a different charity or nonprofit organization each year and donate money to them on a monthly basis. This is helpful because not only are you spreading your money out amongst different charities rather than just one, you’re also learning about all the different organizations in the world and why they started in the first place.
10. Start Your Own Volunteer Group!
This is the time for you to be creative! If you have an interest in something specific pertaining to charity, but aren’t sure where to go, create your own volunteer group! Go around to your neighbors, post signs in public areas, and post about it on your social media platforms. Get a group of people together who are interested in volunteer options as much as you are, and come up with a list of ways you can help the community on your own. A good place to start is choosing a public park to go to and cleaning up any garbage you find lying around on the ground!