Help Others Without Writing A Check

The world can be a sad and scary place. Every time we open up our computers or turn on our televisions, there is another tragedy taking place before our eyes. The gravity and magnitude of the problems are overwhelming. We can and should grieve about the sadness in the world but after the initial shock or grief passes, discouragement comes along and tells us there is nothing we can do to make the world less crappy. We turn away and move on with our day. You hear people asking for help all the time. Support this cause or that. The need can leave you feeling weary, especially if you don’t have any extra money to give to worthy causes. Budgets are incredibly tight for most American families. However, there is always something you can do, every single day, to make the world a better place. You can help others without writing a check. Here is how…

Donate Items

Everyone has stuff in the back of their closet or boxed up in the garage that they simply do not need or want anymore. Declutter your house and help others at the same time. Donate your gently used belongings to organizations that legitimately help people. In your community there are tons of organizations that will take your clothing, toys, and home goods and use them to improve the lives of others. For example, shelters for the homeless and shelters for women escaping abuse often take donations. Many organizations run their own thrift stores to raise funds and accept donations of items to sell. Just make sure you donate things that still have life in them. Broken, damaged, or otherwise completely worn out items need to be recycled if possible and if not, thrown out.

Many people default to donating used goods to Goodwill. Please rethink that. Goodwill asks for donations to sell under the premise that they provide jobs to people who couldn’t otherwise find meaningful work. That may be true to an extent, but this organization is under scrutiny for using some legal loopholes to pay those employees they claim to help less than minimum wage. Goodwill uses a federal law to pay employees with disabilities way less than minimum wage and at the same time pays its executives over $500,000 a year.

You can do better with your donated goods. Check out organizations on Charity Navigator. Reach out to local organizations and ask them how they use donations received. If you are part of a church or other religious congregation, ask for recommendations of where you can donate goods. Many religious organizations partner with small local programs that can truly benefit from your donation.

Have a garage sale to raise money

You might not be able to donate money due to budgetary reasons but if you have a cause that you really want to give money to, raise some money yourself. Have a garage sale to raise money to give away. Sell the stuff you don’t need or want anymore and give all the money to your favorite cause. Advertise what cause your garage sale is benefiting to encourage your shoppers to be generous.

For tips on having a great garage sale, check out Yard Sale Secrets for Success

Give of Yourself

Every single day people are alive because others donate blood, blood products, bone marrow, and organs. Anyone healthy enough to donate in this way can and it won’t cost you a thing. To give blood, check out the Red Cross for a blood donation center or blood drive near you. There are also smaller regional blood donation organizations so look up one in your area if you cannot donate with the Red Cross.

Bone marrow donation requires a little more of you physically and takes more time but it is just as crucial to helping others survive. Can you imagine saving the life of a child? You can do just that with bone marrow donation, as many kids are dependent on bone marrow donations for many reasons. Join the Bone Marrow Donor registry at Be The Match. All you do is fill in your information and swab your cheek with the kit they mail to you to get into the registry. If you match someone, they will contact you.

Organ donation is perhaps the greatest way you can give of yourself. Sign up with the Organ Donor Registry and make sure everyone in your family knows your wishes to donate your organs when you die.

Cook Meals

Let’s face it. Cooking a healthy meal can be a challenge under the best circumstances. We all have those nights where we just can’t handle it because we are tired from a normal day of being a mom. Now imagine what dinnertime must look like for families with a sick family member, with someone in the hospital, with a child with special needs, with a death in the family, with a new baby, the list goes on and on. Dinner can take the last little bit of energy someone has or their family may end up eating cereal because they just can’t put together a meal due to other pressing things that have to be attended to. If you hear about someone in your community who has some extra challenges in their life, take them a meal. Double the crockpot recipe you were going to cook for your family and drop half off to give someone a break. A home cooked meal will provide some much needed relief and just sharing a meal in this way can make someone feel loved and less alone. Having a sick child, special needs, a death in the family or a newborn can feel incredibly isolating. We belong to each other. We can love each other with just a container of soup or a casserole.

If someone you know needs meals for an extended period of time, start a meal plan for them and ask others to sign up to help. Take Them A Meal is a great tool just for this.

Even if you don’t know anyone who needs a meal right now, see if you can volunteer to cook or serve at a local shelter. If you live near a children’s hospital, you can volunteer to cook meals for families staying in the Ronald McDonald House. Ronald McDonald houses provide shelter and other services to families with children in the hospital long term when those families do not live near the hospital.

Give Out Baked Goods

Bring a smile to someone’s face or show support for someone with something as simple as a box of cookies or muffins. Your kids can get involved with this too. Bake cookies together and brainstorm recipients for the baked treats. Maybe you can stop by your local fire station and thank the firefighters for all they do. Call a local nursing home and see if they allow visitors to bring treats in for the residents. You and your children can brighten the day of people who otherwise might not see a visitor for a long time with just a friendly hello and a chocolate chip cookie.

Here are the perfect cookies to bake and give to a new mom: Lactation Cookies!

Babysit and Pet sit

Take care of someone else’s child so they can take care of something they need to do. Does your friend keep missing her dentist appointment because she can’t get there with her baby? Watch the baby for her for a couple hours and let her get her teeth cleaned and grocery shop by herself. If you know a family who needs to travel and has pets, offer to pet sit for free. This might not seem like something that will change the world, but it will. Offering kindness to anyone makes the world a little better. Giving a frazzled mom a break does make the world a better place. She can regroup and be a better mom for her kids. 

Shopping/Running errands

Families dealing with medical and special needs find it challenging to do things we take for granted. A mom with a seriously ill child cannot just run out to the grocery store when she needs something. When you learn about someone dealing with illness, special needs or other challenges, ask them if you can grocery shop or run other errands for them. Make it clear upfront that you will do the shopping but they will pay for whatever they need. You are going shopping for yourself anyway so why not grab what someone else needs too?

Yard work

Have you noticed a yard on your street that is always in need of a little TLC? That home may be occupied by a widow who can’t afford to pay someone else to care for the lawn and can’t do it herself. That home may be the home of someone who is sick. Knock on the door. Introduce yourself and offer to mow the grass. Just keep it casual and say “I’m already out mowing my yard and I would love to help you out and mow yours as well. I actually love mowing the grass so you’d be doing me a favor by letting me do it!” This act of service will act as an example to all your neighbors on how to get to know each other and care for each other, the way neighbors should!

Home repairs

Do you have someone in your life whose home could use a little TLC and they just can’t get through their to-do list for whatever reason? Maybe you know a family with a child with severe special needs or with medical needs that requires the parent’s attention around the clock. Do you know a single mom who has to work all the time in addition to parenting alone? Those parents don’t have time to touch up the paint on the walls, fix worn out boards on a deck or deep clean the refrigerator. Offer to help with those little home repairs or maintenance tasks that keep getting forgotten because life has become too much. Get a group of friends together and make it a fun day of serving another family. Everyone will have a great time and a family will be blessed in the process.

Spend time with others

Loneliness is a disease. It eats away at people, leaving them feeling depressed and isolated. The cure for this disease is quality time with other people. No one was meant to be alone. Connect with others. This may look like you inviting a widowed neighbor over for a cup of coffee while your kids are in school. You may reach out and invite a mom to a playdate that you have seen alone at the library. If you have a feeling someone is alone a lot, spend time with them. You will benefit from new relationships in your life as well.

Use Your Voice for Good

Speak up against injustice. Shout out when something is wrong. So much evil in our world is allowed to continue because too many people are silent. Your voice can make a difference. Not sure when you should speak up? If something you hear or see gives you a bad feeling, like your gut tells you something is wrong, speak up. There are people without power or a voice all around us. If someone is telling racist jokes, tell them to stop. Explain why racism is never funny. If you see a kid being bullied on the playground, break it up and tell someone. If you set out to use your voice for good as a way to help others, you will be more attuned to all the opportunities you have everyday to do so.

There is a new organization dedicated to ensuring that the voice of love is louder than the voice of hate. Visit We Stand With Love to join the movement and use your voice for good. 

Helping others is a real and tangible way to show love to the world. When you help others, you are also modeling service to others to your children. Taking care of others creates a snowball effect and you never know how far that snowball will roll and what good will be set into motion by babysitting for a friend, cooking a meal, or mowing a yard. The moment that we realize that we all belong to each other and that we can’t get through this life on our own, we will open our hearts to be kinder and more generous. Kindness and generosity is something we could all stand to have a little more of for sure!

We love giving back and teaching our kids to do so as well. Here are some tips on How To Teach Generosity to Your Children and Getting Your Kids in the Giving Spirit.

Photo Credits: PixabaySandra Cohen Rose, David Hodgson, Kristen D.

Sources: Goodwill’s Charity Racket

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Kristen lives in Alabama with her handsome hubby and sweet son. Happily, she left behind the life of a Washington D.C. attorney to be a stay at home mama in the south. Her days are filled with writing, photography, and dance parties with her son. On a mission to use her life to love God and love others, you will also find her fiercely working on the many causes near and dear to her heart. She gets it all done thanks to Jesus, chai tea, dark chocolate, and wine.

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