Do you have a desire to help others in your community, but don’t know where to start? Giving back doesn’t have to take a lot of time, money or resources. In fact, it is something we can all do – even with our children or grandchildren. Contributing in even the smallest ways can help families not only get involved in their own community, but will help budding philanthropists develop a respect and understanding for different people and lifestyles.
Here are eight easy ways you and your family can make a difference in Orange County and beyond:
- Volunteer together. OneOC Days of Service is a great way to get involved to do good in our community! OneOC Days of Service includes 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance, with countless opportunities to aid military personnel, veterans, disaster preparedness and more. See the list of projects and sign up here. OneOC.org is a great resource to check out other volunteer opportunities year-round.
- Donate gently used clothing and shoes.
As you make room in your closet for new work or school clothes, consider donating your good quality men’s and women’s clothing and accessories to Working Wardrobes – a non-profit organization based out of Irvine that helps people overcome difficult challenges and back into the workforce. Other adult or children items can easily be dropped off at a Goodwill donation center or Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County.
- Treat your first responders.
The next time you’re baking your famous brownies or chocolate chip cookies for a friend, double the recipe and ask your local fire or police station if you and your family can drop them off as a thank you for protecting your community.
- Brighten a sick child’s day.
Spending time in the hospital can be scary and stressful – especially for young children. An easy way to brighten their day is by creating handwritten “Get Well Soon” cards. Pull out the markers, construction paper and stickers and encourage your family to craft encouraging messages and well wishes. You can drop them off on the way to work, or make it a family outing. You might also contact your local children’s hospital (CHOC Children’s Hospital and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach are local) and ask if they’re currently seeking volunteers or donations for a specific event or campaign.
- Build a curbside library.
Curbside book exchanges like Little Free Library have become increasingly popular among the U.S. and with good reason! Not only do they make books available to everyone, they encourage community involvement while spreading the joy and power of books. First, check to make sure there are no zoning laws that would prevent you from constructing one on your property. Then, work together to build your mailbox-sized library, secure it in your front yard and encourage neighbors to help you fill it with books for adults and kids. Anyone can come by and browse your collection, take what they’d like and donate what they are done reading.
- Sign up for Amazon Smile.
Most of us are already using Amazon.com to purchase everything from household items to school supplies and birthday gifts. But did you know that if you shop at amazon.com, the Amazon Smile Foundation will donate 0.5 percent of the purchase price to the charitable organization of your choice? This may be the simplest way to give back to your local school or favorite non-profit. (You may choose to give directly to Impact Giving by clicking here.)
- Maintain a donation basket.
Every time you shop at the supermarket, pick up one or two nonperishable items and store it in a bin at home. When it’s full, you can bring it with your child or grandchild to a local food pantry such as Second Harvest Food Bank or Community Action Partnership of Orange County Food Bank.
- Organize a neighborhood yard sale.
Almost every neighborhood has clothes, toys, electronics and furniture that can be donated because they’re no longer in use. Create flyers and ask your family to help distribute them to friends and neighbors asking for donations for a yard sale, with all proceeds going to a pre-determined charity. Not sure who to donate to? There are several local resources such as Impact Giving, org or OC Nonprofit Central that help support our local organizations.
At Impact Giving, the generosity of our Partners and friends is at the core of our existence and the reason we are able to transform lives in our communities, our nation, and around the world. If you are interested in learning more about our women’s collective giving organization, visit our website at impactgivingnow.org.