Americans are generous people. We make donations to charity all throughout the year. Many people who want to give back are not sure what they can do to help others. There is a saying, “there is more than one way to skin a cat.” That idea can be applied to helping families in need. Here are some ways to help others and give back to your community.
- Donate money. This probably goes without saying but if you can donate cash, charities across the country can use it. Some people ask why they should donate money to charitable organizations and not directly to individuals or individual families. When you make your cash donation to a non-profit organization, your donation will go farther in helping more families in need than if you gave directly to the people. Charities can leverage that money and use it to help a greater number of people.
- Donate your used clothing. It has been reported that about 80% of all clothing that is donated towards helping families in need is used to help fund the charities to whom they were given. This is because they sell the clothing in their consignment shops. The average American will buy about ten pounds of used clothing every year. Sometimes clothing can be more useful even than money (not all of the time). In times when there has been a large scale natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina, where people were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs, clothes are exactly what they need. Most of us have clothes in our closets that we no longer wear. If you have some, consider donating them before you throw them away. This is especially true if you have kids who have grown out of their winter clothing. Those items can always be used.
- Have donation drive. There are a number of charities that pick up clothing donations and other items you may want to give towards helping families in need. If you have stuff at home that you do not use or do not wear and want to donate it, your coworkers probably do as well. Consider holding a donation drive at your place of business. Then you can coordinate with the local non-profit organization to have them pick up the donations from your office or business. That way everyone wins. Remind everyone they can take their donations off of their taxes.
- Give blood. Most blood banks are always running low on blood, especially types O and B and always around the holidays. Every year, nearly 4.5 million Americans are saved by blood transfusions. It is easy to donate blood and not a lot of time. The donation itself will take about 10 minutes and the whole process from when you get in the door and leave again will take about an hour. This is one really good way you can give back to your community. If you have more time, you can also donate platelets or plasma but that does take longer.
- Donate your time. Many local charities in your area need help with their day to day operations. Food banks and pantries always need help putting the food out and sorting it, for instance. If you have something that interests you, call charities that deal with that issue. If you like animals, you can help out at the local animal shelter or humane society. As ad added bonus, this makes people feel good. People who volunteer their time after often said to experience the “helper’s high” afterwards. That is because when you volunteer your time, your body releases endorphins that make you feel good.
- Donate your talents. Do you have a special talent or skill? If you do, you can donate that to your local charity. If you have a specialty such as carpentry or press relations, your skills can go a long way towards helping families in need by helping the charities that help them.
There are a lot of ways that you can give back to your community and feel better about yourself at the same time. As an added bonus you should know that people who do this are healthier and happier than people who do not.