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No one is useless in this world
who lightens the burden of it for someone else.
There’s a lot of worry out there.
I see headlines wondering about a double-dip recession. I know people in this area who are recovering from all the flooding that’s occurred these past few weeks, others who are going from a two-income family to a one-income family.
Meanwhile, donations are down when people need it most:
- Blood donations are down.
- Food kitchens are starving as food and money donations are down nationwide. Oh yeah, and food prices are rising.
- Salvation Army donations are down as much as 30 percent.
- You know what’s up? Unemployment, that’s what.
I get that people are feeling poor all over, but we need to bear two things in mind:
1. For 99.999999% of us: we have it better than someone else. Therefore we can afford to help that person, and
2. We are rich in proportion to the extent we can help others. You need to give of yourself to feel truly rich.
If your situation is such that every penny counts, there are ways to give to your community that don’t involve dipping into your bank account. Even better, these are real, tangible ways that can include your children.
(Perhaps, one day, we will look back on these hard times and acknowledge that they helped teach our kids lessons we didn’t have opportunity to learn, in our own youths.)
- Clean the outdoors. This can be as part of an organized community cleanup, an every-once-in-a-while effort, or you might decide to keep your block or a corner of your favorite park litter-free. Everyone benefits from a beautiful outdoors.
- Feed the hungry. Hold a food drive for your local food pantry, and prepare some land in your yard to “plant a row for the needy” next spring. Clip coupons for shelters and food banks.
- Give the gift of comfort. Collect blankets, comfort items and toiletries to donate to a women’s shelter, or collect books and toys for the children’s ward at the hospital. Some hospitals collect for care packages, and some will take volunteers to read to sick kids.
- Go mobile. Drop off Meals on Wheels for the elderly and housebound, and stay and visit for a while. Check with your local library, too. Mine has a program where volunteers drop off library books; you could see if anyone would like to be read to or might need a bit of a helping hand.
- Remember our four-legged friends. Animal shelters need towels, old stuffed animals, and pet food. They’re always looking for volunteers to walk, play with and clean after animals. Many pet stores have adoptable animals as well and could use donation items.
- Build something. Habitat for Humanity has programs that kids as young as five can help with.
Giving back to your community teaches kids responsibility, empathy, and communication and practical skills that will serve them well later in life.
But mostly, it shows them firsthand that one person really can make a difference.
If we as parents give our children opportunities to volunteer, give back, and see the difference they can make in people’s lives—
if we raise them to believe that is their duty, and privilege—
think what a world our children could build.
Don’t forget to help Walgreens help others! Visit their Facebook page here to learn about their charitable partners and decide which cause Walgreens will donate to with a quick vote. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.