Get Involved in Hands-On Acts of Charity

What do you have that you can offer to charity? Money is good, but what else do you have to offer? Can you give your time toward helping a charitable cause in the community? Can you offer your skills and resources? The needs are plentiful and the opportunities are all around you.

Here are some low-cost ideas for getting involved in charitable giving. Some of these suggestions involve registered charities; others simply involve acts of charity toward others. You can use one of these suggestions yourself or allow them to spark your own ideas.

  1. Provide housing for students traveling with a group, team, or class. For example, if your town will be hosting a minor hockey tournament, volunteers will likely be needed to provide beds and meals for the players on teams from out of town.
  2. Fill a box for Operation Christmas Child. Even better, mobilize your neighbors, classmates, church, or community group members to get involved in this annual project that distributes gift-filled shoe boxes to children in need around the world. Collect the boxes and drop them off at a local distribution center.
  3. Adopt a section of highway and keep it clean. In many cities there is an organized program that assigns the maintenance of roads and highways to groups or individuals. If no such program exists where you live, then take it upon yourself. Grab a few garbage bags and a pair of gloves. Then head out to pick up the garbage others have left behind.
  4. Help out at the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army has a rich tradition of caring for the poor and the disadvantaged of society. In many cities they operate a food bank. Perhaps you could volunteer to collect, sort, or distribute food donations. If they also prepare meals for the homeless, you could offer to serve. Plus, you could donate used items to the Salvation Army’s thrift store or volunteer to be stationed by one of their red kettles at Christmas time to collect financial donations.
  5. Take advantage of matching gift programs offered by your employer. Many employers will match the charitable donations of their employees by making an additional donation to that charity. So at no extra cost to you (beyond your initial donation), you can double the amount received by the charity. Check with your employer’s payroll or human resources department to see if such a program is offered. If not, ask if it could be considered as a future initiative.
  6. Volunteer at a local nursing home. Check with the staff and offer to visit the residents who may not receive frequent visitors. Perhaps you can read to those who cannot read for themselves. You can even offer to clip the toenails or fingernails of residents, as the staff may not always have time to do it themselves. Then at Christmastime, organize a group of friends and neighbors to go caroling there.

Not everyone has money they can give, but we all have other resources. What do you have to give? Is it your time? Is it your energy? Is it your skill? How can you give of yourself in a charitable way?