Most of us would like to have a hand in creating a better world. We worry about issues that seem overwhelming and feel helpless to solve them. Often, we’re so pressed for time in our busy lives that we forget one important truth: every act of goodness, no matter how small, matters.
It’s true. In less time than it takes to binge-watch a Netflix docuseries, we can contribute to making our world safer, kinder, and, yes, better. Not convinced? Take a look at just a few possibilities:
- Subscribe to the WISH Weekly newsletter and participate in our #52TuesdaysCLE challenge. Each Tuesday, we share a “challenge” to create micro-moments of kindness and generosity that will keep you inspired all year long. Subscribe to join our community.
- Pick up unsold produce and baked goods at a grocery store, and deliver them to a food pantry. What happens to the food that doesn’t get sold before the expiration dates? Often, it’s donated to pantries and shelters. The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland makes it easy for you to help distribute these items. Download the organization’s Food Rescue app, and sign up for notifications. You can request to pick up food at a grocery store and deliver it to a specified pantry. Door-to-door, you can often complete a Food Rescue run in less than a half-hour.
- Give some TLC to shelter dogs and cats. If you can’t commit to a definite volunteer schedule at a pet shelter, you can pop in for a quick visit over your lunch hour. Shelter animals crave love, and they will appreciate any time you can spare. Check local shelters for times and to be sure they accept visitors.
- Listen to your elders. If your grandfather is retelling a story about his days in the Korean War, listen. Ask questions. By actively listening to our elders, whether a relative or a stranger in a nursing facility, we affirm that they matter, that we value their experiences and wisdom.
- Drop off baby clothes and accessories for new moms and moms-to-be. Donate baby items at places where they’ll get immediate use. For example, The Zechariah House, part of a larger network of housing facilities known as Maggie’s Place, provides safe housing as well as food, clothing and services to moms-to-be, new moms and their babies.
- Donate blood. Contact your local Red Cross to set up an appointment. It takes only 15-20 minutes to draw a pint of blood, plus some time for recovery. In that short span, you have the opportunity to save someone’s life.
- Bring homemade food to a shelter or pantry. What are you going to do with the quantity of leftovers in your fridge after a big family gathering? Often, that food goes to waste despite our best intentions. Why not contact an organization that provides meals for the homeless, such as Augustine’s Hunger Center? They are often ready to take your fresh leftovers that same day.
- Buy a shelter-resistant individual something to eat. Why not take five minutes to buy someone a hot drink and a bagel with cream cheese? It won’t resolve the issue of homelessness, but it takes care of that person’s immediate hunger for a few hours.
- Donate books to prisoners. A book can bring education, enlightenment, entertainment, and hope to an incarcerated individual. Round up gently used books, and contact a volunteer organization that delivers books to prisoners, such as Athens Books to Prisoners.
- Do a little cleanup on your morning stroll. Instead of grousing about the empty fast food containers and water bottles littering the sidewalks, why not be the change in your neighborhood? Bring an extra garbage bag with you when you take your dog for a walk, and pick up debris along the way.