September 5, 2017

10 ways you can give back to your community



Today is the UN International Day of Charity! 

September 5th is the anniversary of the death of Mother Theresa and was designated as the International Day of Charity in recognition of the role of charity in alleviating humanitarian crises and human suffering within and among nations, as well as of the efforts of charitable organizations and individuals, including the work of Mother Teresa. 

Giving back to the community can take a variety of forms. Depending on your own skill set and the unique nature of your own community, you will find many opportunities to help those around you. Here are a few ideas to spark your giving side and get you serving those who need help in your community.

Giving back doesn't have to be costly or time-consuming. A small, random act of kindness can go a long way! 

Here are 10 ways that you can give back to your community today and every day. Some of these points are specific to Barbados, but you can find your local alternative if it interests you.

  • Listen to someone

Lending an ear to someone in need is a great way to offer your help and support. Sometimes we simply need to vent, and having someone to talk to makes it easier to get through whatever is going on.

  • Donate Unused Items

If you have things around the house that you’re no longer using you can donate them. Whether you give them to someone you know is in need or you take them to a local secondhand shop it will help clothe someone who needs it. I recommend reaching out to the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society and Jabez House in Barbados. Similarly, your local animal shelter always needs towels and other items!

  • Donate blood at your local blood bank

I've written about the urgent need for blood in Barbados, but donating blood is an act of kindness that can be done anywhere in the world. You can even donate if you're visiting Barbados! 

  • Give small

You will be surprised how a small donation from me, added to a small donation from you, can make a big difference to someone or something. Why not start a donation pot with a group of friends, or at a family event? That way everyone can add what they wish to the pot.

  • Get social

Many nonprofits provide their followers with opportunities to give back through social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you love what a charity is doing you can help raise awareness and share their posts/page/updates with your friends. You never know who may be passionate about the same causes.

  • Support local

Shop locally with local businesses, visit a local pub or restaurant or attend local artistic and cultural events. You will get more rounded idea of what is happening in your local area, meet new people, experience new things, all whilst keeping your local community vibrant and viable for the future
Shopping locally helps your community in a number of ways; It puts money back in to the economy, helps maintain local jobs and keeps non-chain ventures thriving. Slow Food Barbados is a non profit in Barbados that is currently hosting a local food challenge, encouraging participants to eat 100% local for 7 days. You can check out #SlowSeven here and their local buyer's guide.

  • Give your time

Time is a precious resource. And giving it away is as generous as it gets. Consider volunteering for worthwhile groups and causes, a local school or retirement home. You can also consider giving your time and skills virtually to any organisation around the world. You’ll be surprised at the difference you can make by simply making yourself available. You can sign up to the volunteer newsletter at Caribbean Collaborative or check out VolunteerMatch and Volunteer Canada.

  • Become a mentor

Young people benefit tremendously from additional support from what they receive through their regular school classes. As a mentor, you could help young people with their studies, help them access work experience, work through their ideas, support them when applying for higher education, and generally be a positive role model socially and educationally. You get to use your existing knowledge and build on skills such as empathy, communication and supporting growth in others.

  • Participate in a charity walk

Get active for a good cause! Pick a walk happening in your local community that is in line with a cause that you care about.

  • Let others know what you are doing

Informing people about the great experiences you’ve had, the effect of what you’ve done, and the benefits you have felt, could be a great way to get them involved too. If everyone who did something for a charity or their local community encouraged one new person to become involved then it would have a great ripple effect.

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