It is remarkable to see the profusion of companies that are beginning or continuing to employ practices that invigorate global and developing country economies. Not to mention the numerous companies that make promises to maintain ethical and sustainable business practices. You may have made a commitment to support such companies by purchasing products from them, which is a great start to taking a proactive role in helping others. There are other more active ways you can become the hands and feet within your community to help invigorate local aid as well as supporting global efforts from your own community.
There are local establishments that provide community aid to its citizens, as well as local companies that provide aid for global markets. Finding ways that you can get involved can be both rewarding and helpful to these establishments that rely on their volunteers for many operations within their organizations.
Here are some great ways that might catalyze your search for a place to share in aiding your local community. Some of them may require a weekly commitment, while others can be scheduled around the times that you may be able to offer a few hours of your time in assisting companies with allocating their resources.
Feed My Starving Children is an easy way to donate a couple hours of your time to helping assemble Manna Packs™ that are shipped to over 50 countries including: Haiti, Cambodia, and Ethiopia. Volunteering can be done in groups, by yourself, and even children ages 6 years and older are welcome to participate. This is a great way to teach a young person the value and importance of helping others! FMSC has locations in Minnesota, Illinois, and Arizona. Visit the website to electronically sign up for a volunteer time- it’s that easy!
Meals On Wheels is a non-profit organization that operates in all 50 states and accepts volunteers for a variety of responsibilities. The program serves to ensure that people who have limited accessibility to food are able to get hot meals served right to their doorstep. The program mainly serves senior citizens that may have limited access to food. This may be a result of fixed incomes, decreased ability to prepare meals, or limited transportation for grocery shopping.
Feeding America operates over 200 food banks throughout the nation. The food banks serve to supply 60,000 food shelves and meal programs. Food banks serve a multitude of purposes, such as reducing food waste and hunger. Many food banks need volunteers to help sort and organize foods, help educate children about food choices, and help with transporting food between charities.
Initiate your own donation drive. A friend and I recently partnered with two churches in our community to help collect personal care products for a local food shelf. We found that there were a lot of willing community partners that can help you in raising donations- it’s just a matter of approaching them to ask for their help. It can be as big or small as you choose, but partnering with other local establishments can maximize the reach of your initiative. You might find this extremely rewarding and could lead to an ongoing drive once you establish a relationship with different programs and organizations.
If your hectic schedule doesn’t allow you to donate time right now, you can continue to support companies that have made promises to give back to their communities, as well as:
- Donate items to local food shelves. Overlooked items may include: personal care products, diapers, and toiletries.
- Donate old clothing and toys to Salvation Army drop offs (this is a great way to do some spring cleaning while helping out others!).
- Continue supporting B Corp companies and other companies that have missions to give back to their communities.
It’s easy to become wrapped up in our personal worlds. Constant demands and pressures can make you become short sighted concerning the global picture (sometimes rightfully so!). While attending to personal demands is important, broadening your interactions and involvement within your community may inadvertently teach you something about yourself, helping you develop strategies in improving the way you cope with personal demands and pressures. Becoming part of your community and providing helping hands not only elevates your own sense of personal satisfaction, it can be a great platform for instilling the values and importance of helping others in your own little people. Be their role models and teach them by doing and getting them involved when appropriate. Involving children can be as simple as having them help sort what clothing or choose what foods and products will be donated to helping others. Talk to them about what you are doing and why you are doing it. You can help teach the next generation about community involvement and the value of helping others.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
– Mahatma Gandhi