Serving your community is a great way to help those in need, spend time with others, and enrich your own life. This Volunteer Month is the perfect time to get into the routine of giving back to your community. Whether it’s collecting goods, giving out food, or helping your neighbor with their lawn, there are many ways to volunteer this month and all year round. Here are five ways to support your neighborhood through community service.
1. Collect Items
Homeless shelters, afterschool programs, animal shelters, all of these staples in community-based programs need supplies.
Many of these supplies are perishable, like food for pantries, or disposable, like diapers for foster homes. As a result, they must always be replenished.
Common items to donate in the community:
- Food Pantries – Non-perishable goods, food storage containers, paper towels, coupons for shopping
- Children Education/Foster Programs – Diapers, snacks, school supplies, bookbags, books, stuffed animals
- Homeless Shelters – Toiletries, food, blankets, hygiene products
- Domestic Violence Shelters – Old cell phones, unused makeup, clothing
- Military – Clothing, food, monetary donations, medical supplies
- Animal Shelters – Beds, food, cleaning supplies, cages, leashes
Start a drive at work, collect donations in your neighborhood, or do some spring cleaning around your house. Every little bit counts!
2. Do Things for the Community
Nothing is more fulfilling than volunteering your time, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You don’t need to work hours-long shifts as an EMT to make an impact on the community.
There are plenty of opportunities to help out the community on your own time, such as:
- Mowing a neighbor’s lawn
- Babysitting for a stressed family
- Donating blood
- Picking up trash as you walk
- Fostering a child or shelter animal
- Picking up extra groceries for a homeless person
Get creative. Everything that we do has an opportunity to promote kindness!
3. Host A Gathering
Community service can bring a community together. Decide a local project you would like to accomplish and recruit your neighborhood to make it happen.
Some great options for hosting a community service gathering include:
- Planting flowers in a local park
- Organizing a hike in the woods
- Putting together a bake sale to support a local charity
- Creating a study group for children who need tutoring
- Offering a free dog wash for disabled vets
- Inviting kids to partake in an art mural
Syncing your passions up with your charitable contributions is an excellent way to reinforce volunteerism as a habit. Think of something your community needs, brainstorm how you can make it fun, and then bring others along for the ride!
4. Be A Problem Solver
Take a look around. Living in your community opens your eyes to the many things it might need. National Volunteer Month is the perfect time to solve those problems yourself.
There are plenty of things you can do in the community that require little effort but leave a BIG impression, such as:
- Installing a free library
- Repainting fences in community areas
- Reaching out to Traffic Control about replacing broken street lights
- Fixing up a run-down playground
- Re-binding books at the library
There is no feat too big or too small. Nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment when you complete a kind act and then see its benefits daily.
5. Share Your Knowledge
Community service doesn’t have to be strictly manual labor. You can help those in need by sharing what you know.
Some ways to pay it forward by using your brain include:
- Volunteering in afterschool programs
- Coaching sports
- Playing music for the elderly
- Giving painting lessons
- Teaching soup kitchens how to cook different meals
Your knowledge and passions are what make you, you. By sharing this information with others, you can create a close bond with your community members, improve their quality of life, and perhaps even inspire them to do good in the community themselves.
If you’re looking for some places to volunteer check out the list below of organizations the J has worked with or supported: