From 9/11 to Sandy Hook to the Boston bombing, society as a whole has endured too much tragedy. Though these events force us to acknowledge the ugly in the world, they inspire us to spread beauty. It is up to us as a community to remind each other to do better, to lend a helping hand, and to outweigh the ugly.
It seems that now, more than ever, people want to break away from the cycle of being consumed by their stress-filled lives and open their hearts up to helping others. It’s important to remember that donating your time or services doesn’t have to be a full-time job; a small gesture goes a long way. It only takes one act of kindness to make a difference.
Here are five simple ways to give back:
1. Act local, think global
You can start by researching what is going on in your town or city. From there, see what sparks your interest and where the most help is needed. If your town or a neighboring community has recently endured devastation, look into how you can help. United Way of America and Habitat for Humanity are two examples of non-profit organizations that are easy to get involved in no matter where you live. Plus, many national and international organizations have local chapters, allowing you to be part of a worldwide movement.
2. Attend fundraisers and events.
An array of fundraisers and events, including marathons, dances, and galas, are held every year and the proceeds go to a specific charity. This is a fun way to get involved and meet new people who share the same interests. Enjoy getting a little messy while working out? The Color Run is a 5K that takes place in more than 100 cities across the U.S., and recently, has emerged to Australia. Not a runner? That’s OK. You can walk, jog, or crawl your way to the finish line! And throughout the entire event, you are blasted with colored powders. And, the best part is that the proceeds from each city go to a different charity.
3. Donate blood.
If you feel that you don’t have the time to join an organization or volunteer, there are still ways to participate: donate. After the Boston bombing, many people immediately went to hospitals to donate blood. According to the American Red Cross, more than 44,000 blood donations are needed every day.
Go to your local blood bank and donate blood. Donating blood is a quick and easy four-step process: registration, medical history question and answer session, donating and eating delicious snacks! Who doesn’t like being rewarded with juice and cookies?
4. Donate clothing and household items.
If the sight of needles makes you quiver, there are other options. Throughout your town, various agencies, shelters and churches welcome clothes donations. By donating to Goodwill and the Salvation Army you are helping these organizations fulfill their mission to support families.
If you live in New York or Connecticut, you can also donate your clothing to Big Brothers Big Sisters without even leaving your house! Simply schedule a pick-up date online and they will come to your house and collect your donation. Those shirts that have been hanging untouched for three years can finally be put to use. This is a great way to help those in need and finally gives you a reason to start that spring cleaning you have been putting off!
5. Donate money.
This may not be the most ideal way of getting involved, but you are still making an impact. The greatest thing about donating monetarily is that the options and opportunities are endless. You can find an organization that is near and dear to your heart, and contribute in a way that can help advance resources and research.
By being proactive you’re spreading a message of selflessness and consideration within your community, and you could be stirring a new passion that you didn’t even know you had. So as a society, it’s time we take a moment to appreciate what we have and not take life for granted. It’s time we strengthen our bond and burst with beauty.