In this time of uncertainty and stress, there is much need for kindness. If you have been helped in your life, there is no better time than now to pay it forward.
Every one of us can think of times when someone went out of their way to help us out. Perhaps it was a parent that worked an extra job so you could afford college. An art teacher who paid for all the supplies out of her small salary. Maybe it was a stranger that rescued you in a boat in the middle of a hurricane.
Here are 11 ways you can help others in this challenging time.
1. Give to a Food Bank
If you and your family have enough food to eat, please consider donating some to your local food bank. They are almost entirely funded by local donations of money and food.
Check through your pantry for non-perishable foods like pasta or canned goods. If you have something sitting in your pantry for weeks, someone else would probably enjoy that item more than you.
2. Donate Clothing
Have you gained or lost a lot of weight? Do you have clothing that hasn’t fit you in quite some time? It is time to donate it.
Many charities take clothing donations. Don’t forget your local homeless shelter and the Red Cross. They often need items for people trying to transition from homelessness back to life with a home and food security.
3. Run Errands
Some people may need an extra hand with chores and errands. If you have a friend or neighbor that is elderly, sick, or just has trouble getting around, help them out. Run to the pharmacy or the store for them. Mow their lawn or take their dog for a walk.
4. Share Your Talents
Don’t waste your days hanging out in front of the TV. Get out there and do some good for the world. Use your spare time to improve the lives of others. Look for ways you can share your talents with others in your community.
If you are a builder, build. Are you a teacher? Why not teach some kids on your spare time? Do whatever brings you joy to help others in need.
5. Do a Social Media Fundraiser
On your birthday or just any day at all, you can start a fundraiser on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.
Pick out a cause or an organization that is near and dear to your heart. Fill out a form, and your fundraiser will be live. Don’t worry if your fundraiser doesn’t amount to millions. It doesn’t have to. Every little bit counts.
6. Give Someone a Job
Nothing is more disheartening than not being able to financially take care of yourself or your family. Sometimes a monetary handout could make this feeling worse.
Many are losing their jobs. Hire someone to do something, even if it is something you could do yourself. Do you own a business? Maybe you could hire a new employee. If not, have someone do something small, like mow your lawn, paint your house or wash your car.
The sense of dignity from hard work and a job well done is beyond measure.
7. Be a Big Tipper
Another way to pay it forward is to be more generous when it comes to tipping. Whenever you can, give a bigger tip than others usually would. In the US, a 15% gratuity is customary. If you can, double that.
8. Be a Mentor
Have you spent years in your career? Help someone new to the industry. Your experience and mentorship could give their career a boost.
9. Buy Local
Big box stores could survive disasters and other massive disruption to society. But small businesses may not.
If you have a choice, try to buy local so that the businesses around you survive and thrive.
Remember, a healthy local economy makes for a better place for you to live.
10. Donate Blood
If you are healthy, please donate blood through your hospital or local chapter of the Red Cross. Human blood can only be stored for a limited period, so there is always a need for donations. Yours could save lives.
11. Grow a Victory Garden
In the US, during WW2, the government encouraged citizens to grow their own fresh vegetables and herbs. Today, growing your own vegetables is making a comeback.
You don’t need a farm or even a big yard to grow vegetables. All you need is light, dirt, seeds, water, and sun. If you live in a small apartment, you can even grow things like salad greens, tomatoes or peppers, in containers on your windowsill. Got more than what you need? Share it with friends and neighbors.
As a society, we should all work together to help those in need. While it may be hard to feel like you could make a positive difference during rough times, remember that you can always make a difference. As you pay it forward, you will discover that when you help others, you help yourself.