Saturday, January 09, 2010

Make a Difference in 2010

Tonight I will be attending an "appreciation" dinner for members of my community who volunteer their time. I usually skip it, but mom and dad are going and I recently got involved in something that was not only fun, but made me really want to spend more time with the others participating. The cool thing about my volunteer stuff is that I very often make lasting friendships with the other people who are pitching in. In general, people getting their hands dirty to help others are keepers. At least that has been my personal experience.

Since we are in a brand new year, I am going to take my Saturday posting to remind all of us how easy it is to make a difference. It's very easy to fall into the "I don't have time" or "I don't have money" trap. You don't need time or money to pitch in. You don't even need to be physically able.

Here are some ways you can contribute without spending money or even getting out of your chair.

Sell some stuff you no longer use on ebay and donate the money to charity. You can even have the payment go directly to the charity you select using ebay's giving system. Great way to clean out overstuffed closets and storage spaces, and make a difference.

Link up your blog, myspace, or facebook page to get out the word. Some charities even have "click to donate" buttons you can copy and paste.

Sign up for email alerts and notifications. Any cause you care about will have them, and being aware is how you get involved in the first place. Even if you can't make an event, you may know somebody else who can.

Ask for donations as gifts. Nothing wrong with telling loved ones "I'm lucky, and would rather you give $5 to the Susan G Khomen foundation than buy me a card this year."

Donate stuff to Big Brother/Big Sister-- they come around regularly to collect old clothing, used appliances, and other stuff. Special Olympics will come haul away old vehicles. Some charities will come cart away boxes of used books in good condition, too. You don't even have to deliver!

And not all charity has to have an office and stationary. Some things I do in my day-to-day:

If I notice the customer in front of me didn't tip at the coffee shop, I double my tip.

If I see an elderly person, mother with a small child, pregnant woman, or other person struggling physically I offer to load their groceries for them or help them carry a load to their car.

Let somebody go first in line if they seem rushed or frustrated. It's 3 minutes. It may make their entire day.

Wave cars across the intersection when traffic is crazy.

Just smile at somebody who looks miserable. It's free.


  1. And everyone smiles in the same language too. And thank you. I like letting people in front of me at the store. Or when I'm in a rush, and I only have a few things, and the express line isn't open, it really DOES make my day.

    I'm cleaning my closet tomorrow, and I really hate throwing away perfectly good clothes. I'm hoping to take them to goodwill or something. Some unused scrubs I may put up for ebay...we'll see.

    And I will give to either one or both the PF and Breast Cancer awareness foundations. (however....there really is quite a lot of breast cancer awareness already, or as one facebook friend put it, "Breast Awareness")

  2. *big kisses on Leigh!!*

  3. Leigh the divas has a swap and sale room - no reason you can't sell them there then give the money to charity.
    I try and always do my bit for cancer charities, i always donate my old clothes, and i shop in charity shops over here in the UK but you're right Chrissy i can do more.
    I think i might try and do a Gwen and write a short ebook to "sell" for charity. Wouldn't know how to set it up without a publisher though...hmmm

  4. Every little bit helps!

  5. Beautiful and worthwhile tips. ((hugs)) thank you.