As a member of a close-knit community, depending on how it has helped you and what it’s done for you, you might feel indebted or obligated to give back to it in some way. Giving back to a community doesn’t have to entail some grand gesture or exorbitant showing your support. Even if you don’t have much time, money, or resources to spare, you can still give back to the community in whatever way you can.
Here are some easily achievable yet meaningful ways you can contribute to the continued health and welfare of your community:
Donate used items
If you’ve been living in the same house for more than a few years now, chances are you have old or used stuff that you don’t particularly need anymore. Donating them to people who need them more or to organizations that can distribute and recycle them for you is one way to make sure that they go to someone who’ll actually use them. Just don’t donate stuff that’s no longer usable or wearable. Give away stuff that can still be used and is still functional.
You get to help those in need, plus you get to clean and declutter your house to make way for newer stuff. Donating used items is one of the easiest methods you can help your community, especially if you give to local organizations and charities.
Donate to a food bank
If you bought more groceries than you don’t know what to do with, or just want to feel like you’re contributing to a good cause, donating food items and other groceries to a food bank could help feed hundreds of underprivileged families in your area. In a time when people are struggling to put food on the table and just getting by, the importance of food banks and community pantries can’t be understated.
You can also give monetary donations so the organizers can buy the groceries themselves, or if your community doesn’t have its own food bank or pantry, start your own!
This is one of the most basic ways that you can give back to your community — just keep it clean. That means don’t litter, throw your trash in the proper receptacles, and as much as possible, recycle your cans and plastics. It costs very little effort to care about the environment and even lesser money. Keeping the streets, parks, and commercial areas clean and litter-free shows that you care about how your community looks and don’t want any unsightly garbage dumps, clogged waterways, and messy streets marring any of it. It’s healthy in the long-term and you’d be setting an example for the entire community to follow.
Inversely, if you notice a lot of trash in the area, you can organize a full sweeping community clean-up. This could include anything from just picking up litter and recyclable materials, trimming and cutting overgrown plants and trees, or even pest control and management, as well as weed removal. Granted, this one does require a bit more effort, but if you can get more people on board, the better. And when you’re done and looking out at all the clean streets and parks, there’s no denying that feeling of accomplishment.
Observe the proper safety protocols
Remember that we’re still in a pandemic. Even if vaccines have started to roll out and people are slowly starting to recover, it doesn’t mean that this virus has been fully eradicated. One very basic and easy way to give back to your community is by observing the basic safety protocols whenever you go outside. Wear a mask even if you’ve already been vaccinated. Practice social distancing in the grocery store, the bank, restaurants, or any public area with a lot of people. Get yourself tested and make the necessary preparations if you need to quarantine.
Be aware of your community’s quarantine status and guidelines. The smallest actions can make the biggest difference in the future and you can save so many lives just by wearing a mask.
Volunteering your time and services to a local charity or organization is always a good idea and it doesn’t cost a lot of money either. If you’ve got the time, check your local town hall or community websites for any local groups that could use some help. Maybe your local church is organizing a fundraiser for a good cause. Or maybe the local senior living facility is understaffed. Or you could help out in your local shelter if you’re more of an animal person.
Dedicating any free time that you have to local organizations and benefits shows how much you care and nurtures a spirit of giving and camaraderie among your community members. Any time spent volunteering is never spent wasted.
There are many ways you can give back to your community and most of them don’t even require that much money or effort from you. Always remember why you want to give back to your community and what you love about it. Most of all, it pays to be kind and patient to people because you never know what they might be going through.
At the very least, check up on all members of your community, especially the most vulnerable. Because your community isn’t complete without the people who make it and building a better, more environmentally conscious, and prosperous community all starts with you.