There is nothing wrong with focusing your attention on providing for your family, socializing with loved ones, and excelling in your career. However, giving back to society cannot only lift your mood and support good mental health, but your kind-hearted actions could improve others’ lives and help them overcome adversity.
If you’re eager to lend a helping hand where possible, there are many steps you can take to transform people’s lives for the better. Read the following 13 meaningful ways to help others in 2021.
Many US states are facing a shortage of volunteers following the COVID-19 pandemic. Many local organizations are now calling for people to donate their time to support their communities.
For example, Feeding America has reported its number of volunteers has dropped by 60%. Also, many charities have called on the National Guard to fill the volunteer shortage gap to continue to provide essential services across a community.
While squeezing volunteering into your busy schedule isn’t always easy, giving up your time could make a valuable difference to a charitable organization in need of assistance.
2. Donate Belongings to Charity
If you can’t donate your time to a charitable cause, many other actions could support its services. For example, many non-profit organizations are more than happy to accept:
You can trust your donated items will go to those in need, or they might be sold to the public to raise essential funds for an organization.
3. Donate Money
Donating money might seem cold and impersonal, but charities of all sizes often rely on cash donations to provide essential services to communities. Without financial support, a charity would struggle to help people during times of need, such as following a natural disaster, a life-altering pandemic, a destructive house fire, or a devastating medical diagnosis.
You can make a difference by making an online donation to a reputable charitable organization, and your money will go to a worthy cause, such as helping those impacted by Hurricane Ida. It’s a quick action that can help those in need, and any contribution, large or small, will be welcomed by a charity.
4. Give to a Food Bank
A food bank collects and distributes food to various hunger-relief charities. It serves as a food storage and distribution depot that helps small agencies providing groceries to people who are struggling financially.
A reported 54 million Americans struggled with hunger in 2020, and many of them turned to food banks for support. While rates were higher during the pandemic, many agencies rely on food donations from the public to prevent hunger across communities.
Food banks will welcome the following items from the public:
- Pasta sauce
- Canned goods
- Peanut butter
Also, any items that don’t need to be refrigerated are appreciated, such as olive oils, marinades, and dressings.
However, there are some items you shouldn’t donate, such as products that require refrigeration, leftovers, expired foods, baked goods, and food with poor-quality packaging.
5. Buy a Meal for a Homeless Person
The exact number of homeless people living in America is unknown, but it is believed millions of people are living on the streets or in shelters. While more help is required from the government to end homelessness, people across communities can care for those in need by buying them a meal.
It will prevent a homeless person from experiencing hunger while living on the streets. Plus, your assistance can make them feel like a valued member of society. If possible, provide a homeless person with information on local shelters to help them find a roof over their head.
6. Hand Out Blankets to Homeless People During Winter
According to the CDC, an estimated 2,000 US residents will die every year due to weather-related causes, such as excessive natural cold, hypothermia, heatstroke, or sunstroke. However, homeless people are at greater risk of losing their life to a cold-related condition due to a lack of shelter, inadequate winter clothing, and excessive exposure to arduous weather conditions.
Prevent homeless people from unnecessarily losing their lives this winter by handing out blankets, footwear, various layers, and tents. The garments can keep them warm when temperatures drop and improve their comfort outdoors. Again, provide a list of local homeless shelters to help them secure a roof over their head on a cold night.
7. Work in a Charity Store
Charity stores rely on kind-hearted members of the public to organize donations, serve customers, and manage cash flow. It doesn’t matter if you have a retail background or not; many charity stores will welcome volunteers from all backgrounds with open arms. If you have a few hours or days per week to spare, lend a helping hand at a charity store to support its essential services.
8. Befriend an Elderly Person
According to a US Health and Retirement Study, 43% of Americans 60 years and older experience loneliness. Also, 24% of people aged 65 and over stated they feel socially isolated, while 4% said they were severely socially isolated.
Unfortunately, many people across your community will likely struggle with loneliness and feelings of isolation. If a senior lives alone in your neighborhood, reach out to them to provide company and support. Your friendship could transform an elder’s quality of life and give them a reason to smile each day.
9. Go to the Store for an Elderly Neighbor
An elder might also struggle to perform everyday actions, such as visiting a grocery store. If they live with impaired mobility, a health issue, or frailty, drop by their home to ask if they need any items from a store. You could prevent them from struggling with limited food in their cabinets or from venturing outside, which could impact their health and wellbeing.
10. Donate Your Skills
Many non-profit organizations not only rely on members of the public to support their everyday actions, but many require specific expertise, such as marketing, financial, or project management skills.
If you have time to spare, donate your sought-after skills to a charity. For example, your social media know-how could help a charity improve its online visibility, gain more volunteers, and secure many more donations.
11. Host a Fundraising Event
A fundraising event can benefit a non-profit organization in various ways. It can raise much-needed money for its services, raise a charity’s awareness, strengthen its relationships with attendees, and even increase the likelihood of future fundraising events.
If hosting a fundraising event for a charity close to your heart sounds appealing, there are some essential steps you will need to take. For instance, reach out to a charitable organization for advice and support, as it could promote the event on its social media channels, website, or communications.
Next, set a fundraising goal to provide a financial target to promote and reach during the event. Highlight the goal to attendees to encourage them to be a little more generous when donating money. Alternatively, you could aim to secure a specific number of reoccurring donors who will pledge their monthly support to a charity’s efforts.
Also, you must create a fundraising budget and stick to it. It will ensure the majority of donations raised will support the worthy cause. In some cases, some venues and suppliers might be more than happy to provide their services for free if they serve as a sponsor.
Don’t forget to promote the event both on and offline, which will ensure you attract many guests. Plus, you can increase the fundraising total by asking attendees to buy a ticket to attend a fundraiser.
12. Give Blood
At present, America is struggling with a blood shortage due to an increase in organ transplants, trauma cases, and elective surgeries that require blood donations. Due to the various healthcare pressures across the country, there has never been a better time to give blood.
If you’re a suitable donor for blood donation, you can trust your blood will be donated to patients who can safely receive your blood group. Rest assured the quick, simple, and painless contribution will save the life of another person.
13. Encourage Others to Follow in Your Footsteps
Encouraging others to follow in your kind-hearted footsteps can make a big difference to a charity. For example, ask a friend to come along with you to donate blood to increase blood product supplies, suggest loved ones browse their pantry for groceries to donate to a food bank, or bring a friend or two along with you when volunteering at a charitable organization.
There are different ways to give back to your community throughout the year, from donating your time, belongings, or money to hosting a fundraising event and giving blood. Your valued contribution will make a difference in one or more people’s lives in society.
Plus, you will feel a sense of satisfaction knowing you have helped improve the lives of people who need assistance. So, volunteer your time to a charitable cause, donate money to a non-profit, spend time with an elder, help homeless people, or give blood during your spare time.