To give without expectation is the greatest of gifts. It sparks something in the human psyche that calls for a need for reciprocation. When someone receives kindness, they feel the need to give kindness. These small acts pull people together and make a neighborhood into a community.
There are many ways to inspire community behavior. But starting is always hard. Community gardens have proven to be a fantastic way to get people interested and involved. Gardens also help keep children off the streets and give them useful tasks where they can learn valuable soft skills.
Not many communities have the space for a traditional garden, so they turn to alternate versions. Container farming companies can provide small communities with vertical, contained gardens where they can grow produce to use among the community or sell for proceeds. These proceeds can then be used to pay for community outreach, activities, and trips.
To reach this stage, it helps to begin small and use your own activities to show people how easy it is to be a community activist. You do not have to start big and try to impress. Do what you can, when you can, and the sincerity of your mission will draw people to you.
Collect Non-Perishable Food
Canned soup, pasta, and ramen are always welcome at shelters and soup kitchens. It is also a relatively easy donation for people to make. Give them a flier or a short speech about why you are collecting the items. It will pique interest, and you will see a greater effort on your next collection drive.
Do Chores for the Elderly
This is a wonderful way to give back in this time of crisis. Elderly people face many difficulties in a world designed for non-disabled people. With a pandemic that is deadly to the elderly, it is even scarier for them to go anywhere important.
Help them to buy groceries, take them to pick up medication or get to doctor appointments, and arrange for them to receive entertainment in the form of books or crafts to help them happily pass the time spent indoors.
This is especially important for young children in your community who may be struggling with homeschooling. Offer help with music lessons or math or any subject that you have expertise in. The parents will be appreciative of your efforts and are more likely to offer their own aid to other community children in turn.
Start a Free Library
Collect donations of books and make a little community library for your neighborhood. Lend the books out of a weather-proof cabinet on your lawn which anyone can access during library open hours. You can choose the opening hours that work best for you. This is a great way to help people stay entertained while staying indoors and social distancing.
Host a Competition
Plan a canned food drive or a recycling collection competition. Announce that it is for children of a particular age range and offer the best rewards for the winners. This would be a good way to collect much-needed food items or clean up the neighborhood.
It will teach children about giving back in a way that encourages them to see that it can be rewarding. An actual reward will incentivize them to participate to an extent where their parents will feel the need to support them. Without parental support, it would be hard for children to participate in such an activity.
Use community meetings to introduce the idea of the competition and garner parental agreement and involvement before announcing it to ensure that everyone knows how to conduct their activities safely.
Collect Wearable Items
Shelters and halfway houses would be happy to receive donations of clean, secondhand clothing, bedsheets, and sanitary products. Women in difficult situations often do not have the resources to source period products for themselves. The organizations that aid women would be delighted to receive regular donations of hygiene products that can help women to stay clean and healthy.
Children and young adults in foster care and shelters need clothing, especially warm clothing in winter and school wear. Collecting used clothing of all sizes and ensuring they are cleaned before donating to the right charities can help you take care of many people’s needs. Knowing where their clothing goes will encourage your community to keep their donations steady and possibly begin offering different ideas to help the people in need.
You can donate business suits to shelters, offer to walk dogs for the infirm, and clean up the community spaces. You could offer IT support to people working from home, volunteer to cook at the soup kitchen, write letters to elder care homes, and send comic books to the pediatric unit at the local hospital. The best part is that these are just a few of the ways you can touch hearts and minds with your love of community service.
There is so much to do, and sometimes the only way to inspire others to give of themselves is to show them an example. Be the example, and you will be overwhelmed by how many follow you.