22 answers

Where to Begin When You Want to "Give Back"

My husband and I are always talking about how even though we moan and groan about day to day life, we know we are SOOOOO blessed to have a roof over our heads, 3 great and healthy kids, food on the table, and a happy life. We want so much to "give back", help out those less fortunate in any respect. be it health wise, family wise, monetary etc. But honestly we just dont know where to start. I've tried searching the interent and theres so much info, and I want to be sure that we are helping legitimate causes. Granted we aren't rich, but we are comfortable and able bodied. I'd be honored to work on a house for someone though my skills are limited :) I can clean, paint, move furniture, garden etc lol I'd work a food bank, soup kitchen, lend support etc.
i just don't know where to start!!!!! It's one of those things we talk about the time, and it never goes anywhere. HELP me help others. What/where should we look for resources?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

More Answers

Donate blood. All you need is time.

My father has donated 50 pints over his lifetime and I just recently begun. Did you know that your donation can save three lives? And, did you know that if you have a certain blood type or health traits you can donate in different categories? After my first donation, I learned that I am eligible to donate 'double red' which means they take twice the amount of red blood cells out and return other blood products back to my body during the donation. Additionally, the double reds I donate are used almost immediately for newborns who need heart surgery. You can also donate plasma or platelets, too.

I will never know who I helped but I'm sure there are parents and children out there who are grateful for my gift. It doesn't cost me a thing and only takes up about 60-90 minutes of my time.

5 moms found this helpful

Once with our Daughter, we made a box of non-perishable items/a can opener/bottled water/canned milk/canned foods/2nd hand t-shirts/ diapers etc., anything non-perishable.
We then took it to a homeless park, where they congregate and sleep. In our State, there are many homeless, Families. With young children. Living in parks or in their cars. No where to live, even if 1 may have a menial job.
Decent people, but homeless and with kids.
The family we gave the box to, was very grateful. They had a toddler, just in a diaper. No other clothing. Luckily in the box, I had also put diapers and our kids outgrown clothing. And slippers. We also had t-shirts in there for a man and woman.
These were normal, but homeless people. Just no where affordable to live, or one got laid off. Can't make rent etc.

My daughter loved doing that.
She wants to do that again.

3 moms found this helpful

Contact a local church-ours has a program like you describe where you can sign up and help out those in need-usually elderly-with chores, rides and whatnot. They would also probably know of families in need of other things I would think.

1 mom found this helpful

Someone in my town started a town-wide Lotsa Helping Hands group. For those not familiar with LHH, it's a very easy to use website to help coordinate all of those friends and family members and neighbors who want to help someone in a crisis but don't know what to do. Usually a site is set up for a particular family, but a woman in my town had a good friend from another town who was diagnosed with cancer. The friend already had access to a LHH site so her needs were taken care of, but the woman from my town asked what she could do to help and her friend said to pay it forward and start another group, so she did. Through word of mouth, there are over a hundred volunteers in my town and our first family was a couple whose infant son had a bone marrow transplant in January. They asked for weeknight dinners to be left at their house so that they could get back from work or the hospital, eat some real food and then head into the hospital for the night (he will hopefully come home in the next week or two). It's such a simple thing but means the world to them.

I would see if there is LHH site in your town and if not, start one and get the word out. It's so gratifying to see people come out of the woodwork to help a total stranger in need.

Check with local churches, schools, groups such as the Lion's club, etc. and they can connect you with volunteer projects or groups in your area. Good for you for seeking out opportunities to give back. You never appreciate how good your life is until you see what others struggle with and realize that you are empowered to lighten the load for others, and it's a great example for your children as well.

1 mom found this helpful

Lots of local places could probably use volunteers. If you contact some churches in your area they could give you the names of any shut-ins who could use a hot meal, house cleaning, or even just some company. Your kids could join you for that and learn a lot.

My favorite way to give back is to sponsor a child. I go through Compassion because they have the lowest overhead costs of any sponsorship program, so more of your money goes to where it is needed.

http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm

Some people decide to pick a child the same age as their children, so they can write letters & share pictures, etc. I've sponsored a girl from Peru since she was 5, and now she is 16. We've written letter to each other the whole time, and I get photos and updates from her school every year. It's amazing to see the difference I've made in her quality of life, her education, and even her self-esteem, even though we've never met in person.

1 mom found this helpful

sounds like Habitat for Humanity would be a great fit for you. try online, sometimes communities have big "builds" in the spring and they look for volulnteers.

ok, I haven't walked the walk, but i read questions like yours and i think, hmm you should start with your neighbor, and the clerk at the gas station, and the weird person at the mall. Just smiling and showing kindness.

1 mom found this helpful

I LOVE animals, so I volunteer 6 hours per week at a local animal rescue... When I go I bring them little supplies that I know they need (things that you would never think they would: bleach, printer paper, papertowels, etc)... It makes me feel GREAT and I LOVE spending time with the animals :0)

1 mom found this helpful

The salvation army and JCPenny, have a christmas program where you can adopt a child, or several and ensure that they get gifts on Christmas morning. The year my husband got laid off we had to use this program and it was truly wonderful, and the list of children is very long and many do not get picked. It gives you ages and clothing sizes, as well as a wish list, and they take care of making sure your gifts get to the right person. so many of these people are asking for such basic things for their children, such as school uniforms, at a time when most families are buying there kids much less essential items.

Also your local united way may be able to point you in the right direction if you are looking for shelters and such to volunteer your time.

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