Between working and keeping the house clean and the kids fed, it seems like every minute of the day is booked. You know you should do more for the community, but how can you find the time? While we often think of volunteering as requiring a commitment of several hours, the truth is that you can make a difference even when you’re short on time. Here are four ways your family can make a difference, no matter how busy you are.
Plant a Garden
One simple way for families to contribute towards others is to add a garden to their property. Whether you grow plants in raised beds, containers or the ground, there are many lessons for kids in raising some veggies, and many food banks accept produce donations, too. If you aren’t sure where to start, tap into the professional expertise of backyard landscaping companies.
Buy a Little Extra at the Grocery Store
Food banks tend to get an influx of donations around the holidays, but things slow down the rest of the year. You can help a local food bank stay stocked year-round by buying extra nonperishable goods while shopping at the grocery store. Picking up a few more cans of tuna and pasta sauce won’t make a big dent in the budget, but if you make it a habit, it won’t take long to accumulate a sizable donation. Some grocery stores have permanent donation bins for food banks, but if yours doesn’t, find your local food bank at Feeding America.
Turn Spring Cleaning into a Donation Tradition
One of the hardest parts of decluttering is throwing away things you spent good money on, especially when they still have lots of use left in them. But at a point, it simply doesn’t make sense to hold onto things you aren’t using. Instead of discarding your lightly-used goods or arranging a yard sale just to earn a few dollars, why not donate them instead? The next time a deep clean is on your agenda, get the whole family involved in looking for gently-used items to donate to charity. Books, lightly-used clothing, small appliances, and sporting equipment can find a second life after being donated to a charity-run thrift store. Building materials and furniture will be happily accepted at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
Sponsor a Child in Need
There are millions of children living in poverty. Some of them are across the globe, while others are in your own backyard. Your family can make a difference in the life of a needy child by sponsoring a child through an organization like Save the Children or Children International. In addition to providing modest financial support, your children can swap letters with your sponsored child and learn about life in a different part of the world or country.
Compete in a Charity Fun Run
The weekend is your time to connect as a family, and you don’t want to leave the kids behind while you attend an all-day volunteer shift. But since many organizations don’t accept volunteers under the age of 16, bringing the whole family along isn’t an option either. But what if you could raise money and awareness for a cause while having fun as a family at the same time? Charity fun runs are races that anyone can get involved in, whether you’re 5 or 50. All you have to do is raise money and show up on race day ready to give it your all and, most importantly, have fun!
If you’ve been telling yourself that getting involved in charity is too hard, too expensive, or too time-consuming, it’s time to drop the excuses. These are just four ways you can have an impact without making major changes to your family’s schedule or budget. For more ideas, check out these suggestions for ways you can make a difference with just an hour of your time.
Jaden’s Voice knows what it’s like to give back, providing advocacy, training, and community outreach for children with autism — and the families that love them. Connect to learn more about what they are doing and how you can get involved.
Amanda Henderson ⎸firstname.lastname@example.org