Random acts of kindness can reach all groups of people. You are able to affect those closest to you, friends and family, people you may never meet or see affected by this, or even people who may never be able to return the favor. In week 27, we are going to focus on helping those with kindness who are not able to help you.
The homeless are often those who are overlooked and could really benefit from your random acts of kindness. Really step out of your comfort zone and interact with them. This interaction could be as simple as a “Good morning” as you walk by them on your way to work, or if you are standing with them at a bus stop, ask them how they are doing. Something as simple as a conversion says you know they are not invisible. You might be surprised by the stories they share!
I tend not to give money to those in need that ask for money on the street corner. You never know what that money could be used for and it might not be helping them at all. There are some people who are not as truthful about their situation as it appears. A friend of mine sat down and had a long conversation with one of her local homeless resident and it turned out he wasn’t homeless at all, but takes the role of it and people give him money. It’s ironic because people give the homeless money to feel good about themselves, never questioning what giving them money will really do. If you are going to give money, find your local homeless shelter or soup kitchen to donate to. In my opinion, the people who frequent these places are attempting to turn their lives around and the organizations need your help to help others who really need help.
Personally, if there is someone outside of a grocery store and I am heading in, I’ll come out with an extra sandwich for them. Then at least I know they won’t be hungry and I have done what I can, knowing my money has gone to a good and positive resource. I once talked to someone who gives out chocolate bars instead of cash. She has her car stocked. I love this idea.
Don’t feel like you can help? Are you getting coffee this morning? Then you have the ability to get a coffee or a sandwich for the person standing outside who doesn’t have the means to buy their own.
Help someone who may never be able to return the favor to you, but know what goes around, comes around in some way or another.
Today’s post is the last in this four weeks theme of creating a larger community. For week 24 of the 52 Weeks of Good campaign we will look at how we can reach and make a difference to people outside of the communities we’ve created. People we may never meet, but still people we can extend our helping hand to.
Online fudraising has been building steam and has become the new way to reach goals and connect with new people. You don’t even need to be part of a non-profit to jump on board! Have a film project you want to start? Need help raising money for your kids soccer team so all of the kids can get jerseys? Start an online campaign, send it out to everyone you know and ask them to send it out to everyone they know and see if you can reach your fundraising goal! Don’t have anything to post online, not a problem, there are hundreds of people who need your help! Here are some great site to check out to get started in making a small financial difference for you or someone you may never meet:
Start Some Good – a platform for social good initiatives to raise funds and grow a community of supporters.
Indiegogo – the world’s largest global funding platform. Founded on the principles of opportunity, transparency, and action, anyone with an idea can create a fundrasing platform.
KickStarter – the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.
Want to reach beyond and help internationally? Kiva is a great organization that changes hundreds of lives around the world. Unlike the others listed above, Kiva is a micro-loan program so you can get your $25 back and reinvest if you would like. With Kiva you can see a return on your investment over time and keep on giving and helping. It is a win win for all. To learn more about Kiva, click here.
Don’t think you have any money to give? Try skipping your morning latte and donate $5 to someone else. We all have the ability to give, it just comes down to priorities and making concious choices.
After spending some time with different animal shelters, foster programs and animal help clinics, I ran across this organization in Chicago: One Tail at a Time. They are a non-profit foster program that is a no-kill, all-breed dog rescue program. Their mission is to: “lower euthanasia rates in the greater Chicagoland area and provide education on the humane treatment of companion animals. The rescue concentrates its efforts on dogs that are in danger of being euthanized, or those that are physically and/or mentally deteriorating in a shelter environment, works to rehabilitate them, and then matches each dog with a permanent home. Focused on keeping pets as a part of our family, One Tail at a Time offers fosters and adopters continued support and education on how best to keep dogs happy, healthy and part of the family.” Many programs try their best to get the animals adopted, but don’t spend a lot of time to make sure the family is a good fit for the dog or provide the continued support.
What is very unique about this dog foster program is they pay for everything a person needs (food, medical, dog walkers, daycare, etc.) to ensure all the dogs in their program are being well taken care of. They also don’t go out and pick the best of the best animals from the shelters for quick adoption turn-around. They find the best in all dogs and try to give as many of them a chance at a better second life. If for some reason the adoption isn’t a good fit, they will take the dog back into their program, in fact they prefer it, to ensure that dog finds the best family for them as possible. Even if years after a dog is adopted and the family can no longer keep the dog, One Tail at a Time will take the dog back into their program and find it a new, happy home. Read More…
For the last week on ways to improve the office, I thought I would take this time to examine some things that Brown Paper Tickets does to make a difference in their communities and hopefully other companies will take a piece or two of what they do and create new ways to make your office more giving.
An relatively easy way to make an impact on your community is to make a financial donations to local schools or non-profits that are set-out to make a difference. Brown Paper Tickets takes 5% of their quarterly profits and donates that amount to a non-profit. They have also been a part of setting-up micro-loans with Kiva and helping to support people across the world. Look at your profits and give what you can every quarter or every year. Whether it is $10 or $100, the donation will make a difference. Read More…
As an extension to Monday’s post, there are more ways to look at recycling than just what you separate from the garbage pile that goes in the recycle bin. Introducing – Part II: Donating what you don’t need:
As you will soon learn, I am a sucker for deals. I get the biggest high when I find something I like that I pay way less than what it originally started out as and I pretty much have a break down when I have to buy something not on sale. So, I am guilty for purchasing items I did not need or already had. However, every month or so I take an afternoon to go through my closet, to go through the storage room, to go through the kitchen, and take out what I don’t really need and donate it. Places like the Salvation Army, Value Village, Goodwill, and Habitat for Humanity are great places to take things you don’t need anymore. Also, finding charities and non-profits who need items, but don’t have the budget to purchase them, are another great find. Not only are you pairing down on your life, but you are also improving the lives of those around you.
Here are 10 items that you may have plenty of, that others could use:
- Old towels – Ask your local animal shelter if they are running low and could use some. Same goes for washable dog beds, cat beds, and toys! They will be so grateful for your donation!
- Extra dishes and general kitchen and cooking supplies – Second hand donation stores (like Salvation Army, Goodwill, Value Village).
- Boxed or canned food – Go through your pantry, find sealed containers that have been sitting there for months, gather them up and donate them to a local food bank.
- Office, school, sport, or art supplies – see if there is a low income school nearby that doesn’t have the budget to buy all the supplies they need and could really use your extra items. Or check out what is on the wish lists of non-profits, like The Ladybug Project! View their wish list here.
- Jeans – An organization called Do Something has a Teens for Jeans campaign where they collect gently worn jeans and donate them to those one need. Read More…
So in one of my recent posts, I wrote about one of my big gives this season was donating 10 inches of my hair to Locks of Love. As you might not have 10 inches of your hair to donate, so here is a list of 10 other ways you can make a difference to someone you might never meet:
- It’s great that people are donating to toy drives, but with Hanukkah and Christmas right around the corner, someone has to wrap those presents! Volunteer one or two hours to an organization and get wrapping!
- Buy a box of wrapped candy canes and pass them out to people on your bus, people you pass on your street or those sleeping on the street. This won’t cure world hunger, but will certainly brighten someone’s day.
- Collect your coats and sweaters you don’t wear and donate them to a local shelter. Your coat could save someone’s life during these cold nights and let’s be honest, you’re not going to wear it any more. Read More…