I recently read an article online about a local woman that works multiple jobs, yet still finds many hours a week to do volunteer work. She is truly committed to doing what she can to help others, albeit in a big way. That got me thinking, and I posed the question to my colleagues, “In what ways do you give back or pay it forward?”
While volunteering someplace is an excellent way to help out and we’re all for that, sometimes it doesn’t even have to be something that you go do at a scheduled time on a certain day. What happened in our conversation is just what I thought would occur. I heard many easy, simple, not necessarily time consuming things that we can do to help our fellow human beings live their best lives.
What follows is a list of activities, ideas, thoughts, and possibilities that we all have done willingly and without expecting anything back. The point is to just be there for someone else. We can all do something!
- Provide a meal for someone dealing with sickness or a death in the family. Not having to get a meal together when you’re struggling is such a help. We have even provided meals for families that are renovating their kitchens or are new to the neighborhood.
- Put reminders on your phone to check in with folks going through a hard time with even just a “hope you are you holding up” text that doesn’t ask questions, but lets them know you see their load and are there.
- Be the person that takes the roster for whatever activity (sports, dance, crafting, chess, book club) your child is in and develop a signup genius for parents. Whether the need is for parents to sign up to run the concession stand or provide meals, snacks, transportation, or anything else, a sign up makes it easier for everyone. That way coaches don’t have to coordinate that aspect, and parents can be involved to take that load off. Coaches love it, and parents are happy to help if you just state when and where.
- Give back to the community in which you reside, coaching youth sports, participating in community activities and supporting local businesses when possible. Volunteering in the community is another way to give back.
- Shovel neighbors’ driveways, mow their grass, walk their dog, or bring in the mail when folks are on vacation or just need a helping hand.
- Pay for the person behind you in the drive thru, the tollbooth, the movie theatre, etc. Doesn’t this just make your heart sing?
- Just be that person that helps, like the viral video of the young boy helping the elderly lady walk up the steps to her home. Help someone across the street, pick up something they dropped, help the mom with the crying kids, or pick up trash. It’s all good!
- Stop at your neighborhood kids’ lemonade stand. Remember how excited your own children get when someone stops? Carry a few dollars in your car just for this purpose. (And give them extra for that glass of warm watered down drink.)
- Gather up books and magazines and find a shelter, hospital or care center, or school where you can donate them.
- When the trash has been collected, make it a point to bring someone’s trashcans back up to the house. It’s such a little thing, but when you get home late from work, wouldn’t that be a nice surprise?
- Just listen. Sometimes that’s all you need to do.
- Say hi to everyone and make eye contact when you’re out walking!
- Hold the door at a business or restaurant for someone else.
- Be patient in traffic, behind the person in the line at the store, or anywhere else. You never know what someone is going through.
- I have been handing out positivity bracelets for a while now. I love when someone sends me a photo while wearing it, or when they let me know they gave theirs to someone they thought could use a little “positivity”.
This list could go on and on, but I’ll stop here. What can you add to the list? How do you give back or pay it forward?