There are so many little things we can do everyday to help our fellow human, animals, earth, but often we forgo these up for a larger gesture or monetary donation. Here are 5 quick, easy, and rewarding things we can do on a weekly or daily basis to make the world a better place. I like to call it Charitable Living.
Make Everyday a Cleanup Day
1. Pick up that chip bag on the sidewalk, beach, lake or wherever you come across it.
I can’t help myself, but whenever I go for a walk on the beach, I pickup trash. It’s kind of sad that there is enough trash lying around that I can always do this, but it is calming and turns into a game. How many cigarette butts can I pick up? How many plastic bags resembling jellyfish did I save from becoming a sea turtle’s lunch?
Something that really stuck with me when I was a teenager was images of sea life dying from getting stuck in or eating those plastic six-pack rings. I resolved to pick them up whenever I saw them, wherever I was- whether it was on the sidewalk, on the beach, at a park, or after a party. If I had scissors available, I would cut them up before throwing them in a trashcan. It became a personal crusade to prevent any animals from suffering from any of the six-pack rings that I came across. To this day, I still do it- 25 years later.
Offer to Help Your Community
2. Mow the neighbors lawn, trim their tree, paint their fence.
Next time you are mowing your lawn, and you notice the neighbors yard is in need of some love, offer to help. I would recommend you ask first since you want to obtain permission (and know that it is something they want done). An extra 5 or 10 minutes of yard work can go a long way to a neighbor who may be struggling physically or financially. This is all about community- It may not be any of these things, but just checking in with a neighbor, others on your block, or the larger community will present all sorts of opportunities to be involved. Some inspiring few have even turned this concept into a full blown organization called Raising Men.
3. Large garden harvest? Donate that bounty to your local food bank.
In spring time, I tend to get a crazy amount of tomatoes from my garden, and some of our fruit trees (particularly a prolific producing fig tree) dump more delicious treats than our family can consume. I hate wasting food, especially knowing that people in my own community are struggling to find their next meal. Rather than letting them rot on the ground, I collect them every few days and drop them off at our local food bank. Shelters that serve food often will also accept perishable produce to supplement into their daily meals.
4. Go walk a dog, or cuddle with a cat. – Your local animal shelter or SPCA probably has it’s hands full could probably use volunteers, but just taking an animal out for a walk or a cuddle will do wonders for you both.
It’s well documented that contact with animals lowers blood pressure, decreases stress, and heightens our compassion, and they will be so happy to leave their cages and get some love.
Small Change for Small Changes
5. Link a charity to your Amazon account.
I do a lot of shopping on Amazon and they have a charitable donation program that doesn’t cost me a thing, but passes on a very small percentage (0.5% of the cost of the item) to the charity of my choice. It’s called Amazon Smile and takes a few seconds to pick out a charity, just make sure to adjust your amazon bookmark to smile.amazon.com for purchases to count.
The amount is very small (You would have to spend $10,000 on Amazon to make a $50 donation), but all of the pennies from all the people who sign up can make a big difference.
Keep in mind these acts shouldn’t take the place of your regular charitable giving, as charities and non-profits depend on your giving to provide the services we support them for- these are just are just a way to make giving an everyday thing!
You don’t need to think of large grand gestures to make the world a better place, often it’s the small everyday things that have a cumulative effect and bring the greatest joy. I’d love to hear about the things you do in your life to make the world a better place- please leave them in the comments below!