Showing a little love to your community is simple this summer. These five EASY ways to give back will not only benefit your city but also yourself.
1. Spend $$ at local businesses.
This first one might seem obvious, but it really does make a lasting impact within your community. Instead of shopping or dining at the large chains such as Walmart or McDonald’s, why not make an effort to support small businesses this summer? Yes, maybe shopping local can be more expensive sometimes, but at least you know who’s making it, growing it, and where it’s coming from. Products sold on a local level contain quality and value, giving you more bang for the buck. Buying food items at local grocery stores will give you a wider variety of fresher, healthier, and locally-grown options. Think of all the tasty in-season fruits you can buy without hesitation! A way to continue embracing natural or healthy is local restaurants—these eateries are what make your community UNIQUE. Each community has it’s own special spots to dine, and a majority of time you will find the best customer service at these places. Choosing small businesses that offer different services to your family or home give you unmatched results, and what’s a better feeling than confidence? You can be worry-free knowing experienced workers complete tasks or installations efficiently, and even better that you are supporting a local entrepreneur. Choosing to spend your money at small businesses is a conscious decision to give back to your community members.
2. Donate, donate, donate.
By donating to local organizations, you’re benefiting someone in need within your neck of the woods. Poverty is often overlooked within our communities, but getting rid of some items you might not need can potentially save someone from difficult times. Consider it
Spring “Summer Cleaning”! There’s more establishments than you probably even know about that accepts donations right within your backyard, all it takes is a bit of research! You can simply donate money, but if you are looking for a cheaper option that might include a bit more work, canned food, blankets, old clothes, former electronics, preloved toys, and furniture are all items that can be donated. Basically, you can donate almost anything under the sun as long as it’s in usable condition for the next person. We loaded a whole trunk full of clothing items to take to the local women’s shelter, and although it required a lot of “good-byes” and decluttering, it felt great to get rid of the clothes we hardly touch anymore all for a good cause. Food can save a starving person, clothes or blankets can save a shivering person, an old cell phone can save someone from domestic violence, and a tiny toy can save a child from boredom. Anything you donate will bless another citizen—and it’s good to clean out your closet every once in a while.
Another option that requires no money (just time) is volunteering. Maybe the summer months grant you more spare time, and there’s no easier way to give back to your community than volunteering. Hospitals, animal shelters, soup kitchens, schools, assisted living facilities, and churches are a few of the many places within each community that accept volunteers. Each institution is different as far as rules (ex. how much time you’re required to spend there), but get to know what each volunteer role asks of you and then direct yourself to the place you’d fit best. In order to volunteer at the hospital, I had to go through an interview process, commit at least 6 months of my time, and follow other guidelines that hospital employees must also abide to. Being there is one of the most rewarding activities for me to do—three summers in a row now. Regardless of where you chose to volunteer your time and for how long, rest easy knowing you are helping a local cause.
4. Visit the market.
Similar to my first idea, visiting your town’s market is a fun way to give back to your community and support local business. Most markets are hosted on a specific day of the week, and primarily in the summertime, but if your area doesn’t have it’s own market, other cities near by you surely do. Strolling through the stands is an enjoyable way to spend your Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday—or whatever day your market is set up—and it gives you the goods of local shops all in one place. You can find fresh flowers, local crafts or jewelry, FOOD, drinks, and so much more at these markets! Once again, you are contributing to the promotion and success of local entrepreneurs and their businesses. (I also have to mention that a lot of these booths offer free samples of their goodies—YUM.)
5. Be a good neighbor, friend, or family member.
The last (but certainly not the least) way to give back to your community this summer is by helping out a neighbor, family member, or friend. This is probably the most effortless of good deeds, because you can almost always find someone in need during the summer. Yard work and lawn-mowing becomes more necessary, maybe your friend is falling behind in prepping for a summer garage sale, and you might even know someone who is moving. While helping out with those tasks require more manual labor, you can also be a good community member by bringing someone a coffee who is in need of a pick-me-up, sending a sweet text (or if you’re old-fashioned, a letter) to a relative, or baking a friend some homemade cookies—which are the best gifts to receive any time of year. You can be as creative as you want with this one, since you have endless options to make someone’s day.
These five ideas require little work, yet make a big P O S I T I V E impact in communities.