Finding New Ways To Help Your Community & World
Small actions can have a big impact. And, they can also have a ripple effect. If you’d like to make a positive difference in your community – and beyond – here are some easy ways to get started.
1. Help Your Neighbors in Need
Many seniors who still live at home need assistance with basic home maintenance duties, especially yardwork. If you’re shoveling snow, raking leaves, or mowing the grass, spend some extra time and take care of your elderly neighbor’s lawn.
You can also organize a meal train for a friend after a birth, surgery, or illness. They’ll appreciate a home-cooked meal while they’re recovering. Or, swap child-care services with other parents in your neighborhood. You’ll each get to enjoy a date night – and save on babysitting costs.
Another way you can give back is to create care packages for homeless people in your community. Include bottled water, nonperishable foods, and personal hygiene items. During the cold winter months, add gloves, scarves, and blankets to help them stay warm.
For more ideas, practice random acts of kindness or dedicate yourself to an entire month of generosity!
2. Declutter and Donate
Go through your belongings and donate unused or duplicate items to local homeless shelters or community organizations that provide services to low-income families. Bonus: your donation may be tax-deductible.
3. Give Blood
The American Red Cross is experiencing the worst blood shortage in over a decade, causing delays in vital medical treatments. If you’re able, donating critically needed blood and platelets can help end the blood crisis and save lives. You can also support the Red Cross by making a financial donation.
Many nonprofit organizations rely on volunteers to fulfil their mission. If there’s a cause that’s close to your heart, see if there’s a local organization you can help support with your time and talents, such as:
- Public schools
- Animal shelters
- Senior centers
Many organizations also have remote volunteer opportunities available, so you can make a difference without leaving the comfort of your home.
Need more ideas? Volunteer Match connects people with organizations that match their interests.
5. Become a Mentor or Coach
Whether you choose to participate in a formal program like Big Brothers, Big Sisters or prefer a more casual arrangement, someone in your community can benefit from your experience, attention, and knowledge. Reach out to youth mentoring programs or local neighborhood groups to see how you can be of service.
6. Shop Local
Supporting your local mom-and-pop shops – instead of national chains or online retailers – is a great way to benefit your local economy. When you buy local, nearly 70% of your money stays in your community, compared to about 40% of purchases made at corporate chains. Not only will you be supporting local businesses, you’ll also help create demand for more local jobs.
7. Beautify Public Spaces
An easy way to improve your community is to remove litter and pick up trash from public parks. You could also help plant a community garden or create a community mural (contact your local officials first!).
You can create a positive impact in your community by voting for local, county, city, and state officials who represent your beliefs.
9. Go Green
Living a low-waste lifestyle is good for the planet. Besides recycling, here are some tips to make a sustainable difference.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint:
- Save time and fuel by running errands in clusters.
- Walk or bike if possible.
- Carpool with coworkers or teammates.
Learn to Reuse:
- Swap disposable items for reusable ones (think cloth napkins instead of paper) and bring your own reusable shopping bags to the grocery store instead of using plastic bags.
- Stop buying bottled water and get a reusable water bottle you can refill as needed.
- Pack your lunch in a lunchbox instead of a paper bag.
- Avoid the harmful chemicals and toxins found in many store-brand cleaning products and make your own with white vinegar and water.
- Find new uses for your household items, such as cutting up old bath towels to use as dust rags.
Conserve Energy and Water:
- Turn off lights when you leave a room.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat.
- Use blackout curtains to keep heat in during the winter and out during the summer.
- Turn the water off while you’re brushing your teeth.
- Only run your dishwasher or washing machine when you have a full load.
10. Be Good to Yourself, Too
As the saying goes, you can’t give from an empty cup. Take care of yourself, and it will be easier to give back. Eat well, exercise, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep. Make time for your emotional health too: daily meditation, practicing mindfulness, and a gratitude journal will do wonders for your mood and attitude.
Our Community Involvement
American Heritage is on a mission to strengthen our communities and make a positive, lasting impact in our members’ lives. See all the ways we’re giving back to local, national, and international causes here, and let us know if there's a charitable organization or fundraising event you’d like us to consider supporting.