Have you ever looked around your community and seen a need? Do you hope to make a difference? If you’ve ever wanted to give back to the place you live, your hometown, or simply to make a difference, the possibilities are endless. There are so many great ways to make a big impact on your community. Here are three ideas that might get you started.
1. Start a little library.
Is literacy an issue in your community? Do you live in a small town without many resources? How are you with tools? Little Libraries are a growing trend that has made a huge difference in communities like yours. If you’re good with a hammer or just love literature, this creative project might be the perfect community service venture for you.
Little libraries have stewards from all over the world; these unique structures are popping up everywhere and provide a great way to encourage literacy in the community. It’s simple: people leave books they’ve read for others and take books they are interested in reading. To start a library project like this, consider a busy part of town and go to the town for permission. Next, ask for donations to pack it full. After putting up your waterproof structure, it’s as simple as going back every now and then to check on it and fill it with used books when supplies get low. Consider books for children to encourage younger reading as well.
If the idea of a library isn’t for you, consider building a structure that’s similar but filling it with canned foods or a litre bottle of water for people in need. Free-standing take one, leave one, pantries are fabulous opportunities to help the homeless or those at risk of hunger and thirst. One of the best things about community pantries or libraries is that you can come up with your own design and give your structure character or a theme. Sometimes, a liter of water or another beverage is the difference between life and death, as homelessness is a major problem in the United States. For ideas, check out little free libraries and pantries on community service blogs.
2. Pass kindness around.
If making your house feel like a home is something you enjoy, take a look around your community and see where you can extend that joy to others. Acts of kindness such as buying a stranger’s food, paying for someone’s groceries, and even using your sewing skills to make blankets and quilts for the homeless can add up to something much bigger. Life can be hard and simple acts of kindness often mean the difference between someone giving up and having hope. If you’re moving to a new home for the first time, you may consider donating belongings that aren’t moving with you to others. When you move to a new home, the first thing you should do (after paying the movers) is to see how to impact the new community around you.
3. Volunteer where you can.
If you aren’t sure you want to use your particular talents or skills for use in the community, think about your passions instead. If you are passionate about climate change, politics, and the future of the earth, volunteer projects with places like the Climate Leadership Council could be a great place to start. Whether getting together with a group of friends for some Saturday volunteer clean up or helping to raise money for Earth Day, your efforts could go a long way in making the bigger world community a better place.
Volunteering can take on many forms. From going down to the local senior center and offering to read to residents or even bringing your pet in for furry visits, to becoming a volunteer court approved special advocate for a place like CASA, the opportunities are endless. Volunteering doesn’t have to be affiliated with any particular agency or business either. It could be as simple as giving your elderly neighbor rides to the store or offering to pick your sick friend’s groceries up.
Helping the community can come in many forms. Whether you decide to go for a project, start a non-profit, or find ways to promote kindness as you go about your daily life, these things add up and, together, will make a huge difference in the world.