Ways To Give Back Right Now

Volunteering gives us a renewed sense of confidence in the kindness of human beings. And a warm feeling that when we unite, we’re capable of many great things.

However, so often we are plagued by our busy schedules, our commitments, and our daily routines, that finding the time to volunteer is lost in the inevitable chaos of life.

But how can we let this happen? How can we push something to the side that is guaranteed to make us feel good about ourselves? This list intends to provide ideas of ways to give back to your community and make a difference, without disrupting your schedule or taking away from any prior engagements.

1. Donate unused airline miles.

You don’t need to leave the house to change someone’s life forever. So many of us go through our lives carrying around unused airline miles, or gift cards, or credits of some kind or another. You can donate these to an organization like Make A Wish, and truly change the life of someone else by making their dream come true. What could be more rewarding than that?

2. Send a card to a service member.

A Million Thanks provides support and appreciation to our active and veteran military men and women through sending letters and granting betterment of life wishes, as well as providing higher education scholarships to their children. Imagine the positive impact you could have on their day or mood from a simple thank you card. Feeling appreciated is a feeling that can go a really long way, so spread the love!

3. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth.

This one is easy enough, right? By simply turning off the water while you brush instead of letting it run, you are making a difference. You are helping to conserve our valuable water and reducing your carbon footprint. And if you decide that you want to take this a step farther, tell your friends, family, and co workers to do the same!

4. Leave a happy note.

Spread a little kindness by making and leaving little notes for someone else to find.  The notes can be for members of your family, neighbors, or even random strangers. This is a fun one to do with kids because age doesn’t matter! Younger children can participate by drawing on the notes while older children can come up with the sayings. This would be a great way to cheer up someone in your own family who could use a little kindness too.  Think of how fun it would be to walk into the bathroom to brush your teeth and see a bunch of Happy Notes!

5. Invest in a small business.

Organizations like KIVA lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. By just giving a few minutes of your time and the click of your mouse, you have the power to provide resources to a business in need. There are millions of organizations and apps like KIVA that allow you to donate by simply clicking. To learn about more of these organizations, click here.

6. Tweet for a non-profit.

Sending a tweet takes literally a few seconds, but the impact of your tweet could last a lot longer than that. By directing attention to the nonprofit of your choice, by raising awareness, by sending people to their website, you are supporting their mission and enabling room for growth. And all this from just one tweet! So get tweeting!

7. Plant a tree.

Leave the world in better condition than it was when you found it. Planting a tree is not only good for the environment, it will also help beautify your community. By planting a tree, you are setting a good example for other members of your community who could be inspired by your generous act, and continue to plant trees of their own.

8. Smile at a stranger.

You can make someone’s day by sending them a friendly smile. Too often, we go through an entire day without seeing a single smile, and this shouldn’t be the case! Spread the smile

9. Take over dinner to an exhausted, overwhelmed momma.

Write her a note about how you notice how hard she is working and what a fantastic job she is doing raising those angels.

Relay For Life

Relay-For-Life

The American Cancer Society is one of the biggest contributors in the world to finding a cure for cancer. Relay for Life is their biggest community based fundraising event, which is held in over 5,000 locations worldwide each year. It is an organized, overnight community fundraising walk. Everyone joins a team and camps out around the track. Team members take turns walking around the track for a total of 24 hours. Food, games and activities are provided for entertainment.

Australia, Ireland, Japan, South Africa and Malaysia are some of the other countries that host events in addition to the United States. The mission for these events is to raise funds to improve cancer survival rates, decrease the incidence of cancer, and improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their caretakers. A volunteer committee undertakes the majority, if not all, of the planning for each event.

There are three important features to a Relay for Life event: the survivor dinner and lap, the luminaria ceremony, and the fight back ceremony.

The Survivor Dinner & Lap

A cancer survivor, according to the American Cancer Society, is anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer. All survivors and their caretakers are invited to a catered dinner prior to the event that is donated by a local restaurant and served by volunteers. After the dinner all survivors and their caretakers head out to the track to begin the event. The members of the community surround the survivors at the starting line to show their support and the survivors make the first lap to start off the event.

The Luminaria Ceremony

At every event, participants remember those that have lost their battle to cancer and celebrate the survivors. However, while this ceremony honors both, it is targeted towards remembering those lost. You purchase a bag, write the person’s name that you are honoring on it and decorate however you want. A candle is placed inside the bag and lit when the ceremony is about to begin. The bags line the track and sometimes, if there are enough, are used to spell out a word, such as HOPE.

The Fight Back Ceremony

Towards the end of the event the Fight Back Ceremony takes place. Oftentimes an American Cancer Society representative will speak at this point in the event. At this time participants pledge to take action and spread awareness of cancer research, treatments, and prevention.
To learn more about the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life visit relayforlife.org.

About Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is an international non-profit organization that raises money to build affordable housing for the underprivileged. It is a Christian organization “seeking to put God’s love into action” through global fundraising and altruistic construction. All affiliates of the organization work voluntarily and houses are offered at no cost to families. Since its founding it has helped to raise over 800,000 homes for families worldwide.

melissa keroack

Habitat’s origins can be traced to a man named Millard Fuller. A trader, lawyer, and self-made millionaire, he gave up his wealth to lead a Christian life with his wife. After leaving and returning from Zaire on a set of missionary endeavors, he set up on Koinonia Farm in Georgia and began soliciting voluntary labor and donations to construct houses at no profit. This coalition would eventually birth the Habitat for Humanity that continues the mission today. The idea soon reached thousands across the Appalachian states, and the group had established its soon-to-be legacy. Five years after, it would reach out to seven foreign countries.

The organization assesses a family or community’s need for housing independent of race and religion, and looks for solvency and a willingness to join the group in its efforts. Habitat homes do come with a mortgage so it is crucial that applicants receive personal and financial background checks that show their readiness to take on a new home. To help lower costs, Habitat uses locally sourced materials and avoids extravagant fixtures. melissa keroackIt continues to look for greener methods of building to reduce waste and create homes more efficiently for a growing number of people worldwide. Habitat has a number of sub-initiatives including Women Build, focused on increasing female participation in fields like construction, and Youth Programs that reach out to high schoolers and college students to blend the ideas of education and altruism. Habitat was present in the wake of many devastated areas requiring reconstruction efforts. It built homes along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, and builds home in Haiti after the earthquake.

Today, well known political figures and celebrities volunteer to help on several projects. Churches and community centers all over contribute to raise awareness and offer assistance in the execution of projects. Its reach grows with the world’s need for help.

Coming Soon!

This is Melissa Keroack’s blog page about charity events and nonprofit organizations.  She will be posting soon!