Giving to others makes us feel good, but sometimes we don’t have the cash to give to a worthy cause. A lack of dollars doesn’t have to mean you miss out on the joy of giving, however. There are many ways to give to your fellow man that don’t have anything to do with cash, and you can still get that inner glow that comes with giving. If you’ve been searching for a way to give that doesn’t empty your wallet but still fills your heart, we’ve got some suggestions for you.
Found money. This first one does have to do with money, but it’s pretty easy. Give yourself a challenge to save all the coins you find; that spare change that’s been hanging around in your car console for six months, the quarters in the couch cushions, the penny on the street – it all adds up! Challenge yourself to see how much money you can find, and start a “found money jar”. Once it’s full, donate it wherever your heart leads you.
Do without day (or week, or month). Every now and then, skip something that isn’t absolutely necessary, like a pizza, movie, or new purse you think you need even though you already have a dozen in your closet you’re not using. Put the money you would have spent on that non-luxury item toward a charity or worthy cause.
Volunteer at a hospital. Every city and town in America has at least one hospital. You can give of your time by volunteering to hand out magazines, give directions to visitors, tidy up a common area, or visit patients who have been in the hospital a while without any visitors. The opportunities will vary from hospital to hospital, but the good vibes you’ll get from giving are universal.
Share your pet. Do you have a loving and caring dog who brings a smile to everyone they meet? Why not share the joy they bring and get your pup trained and certified by a therapy dog organization? You can visit children and adults that need a little extra love in their lives in hospitals, rehab centers, nursing homes, group homes, or hospice centers.
Reuse a shoe. Instead of tossing or donating your old running shoes to a local shelter, help Nike create less waste by donating old athletic shoes to one of their Reuse-A-Shoe drop-off locations. The used athletic shoes are converted into “Nike Grind,” a material used in making select, new Nike products or turned into athletic or playground surfaces.
Donate food. There are a couple of ways to do this; first, check out your pantry and kitchen cupboards. If you’re like most of us, there’s bound to be a few boxed and/ or canned items you know you can do without, and there’s also bound to be a local food bank that would be glad to have those items. Just be sure they’re not expired before you donate them. If you’re a vegetable gardener, give some of your extra produce to that food bank. Most food banks have very little fresh food to give, and would love the chance to add some home grown goodness to their shelves.
Give of yourself. As in, give your talents. What can you do that’s give-away-able? Can you read? There are people out there who can’t, and who would love to have a story read to them. Can you crochet or knit? There are hospitals that would love to have donated caps, blankets, and clothes for babies. In fact, there’s something called The Magic Yarn Project that accepts princess wigs from yarn for little girls going through chemotherapy.
Another place to give is Project Linus, which accepts donations of new handmade blankets for ill or traumatized children or others in need. Can’t knit or crochet but have a bunch of stuff that could be made into something special? Cool – it appears they also accept the materials used to make blankets. Go clean out your craft closet and send them your stuff!
Giving doesn’t have to mean taking anything out of your wallet, sometimes it can be just taking some time out of your day to give something to someone else. Don’t wait for Random Acts of Kindness Day (although that’s a great day to give, too!). Start right now, today, and take inventory of your house, your stuff, and your schedule to see when and where you can carve out a little time to give to someone in need. You’ll be glad you did, and so with they.