Now it's December, that lovely holiday month where we feel obligated to and/or genuinely enjoy buying gifts for potentially large numbers of people. Most of us will prowl sales, hand make gifts this year, and buy used in order to save money. Most of us have been seriously affected by this recession/depression.
But I have a simple request to make of you this holiday season- a gift of altruism, to a total stranger, to enhance your life. It only takes a bit of time, and you will improve (maybe even save) someone else's. Also, your karma points will go up (and who doesn't feel better, helping others?).
Here are some ideas:
- Donate blood. These days, you can give whole blood, double red cells, plasma, or platelets. The process takes 30-120 minutes, depending on what type of donation you're doing. The pain level is minimal (it's just a pinch, and then a little soreness afterward), and it costs nothing (in fact, you get free juice and snacks out of it, usually). Blood donations do save lives (it saved my mom's life, when I was a baby), and it's safe and regulated (just go to your county blood bank).
- Donate hair to Locks of Love, or a similar organization. They ask that you braid it before cutting it, and then just send it in. Your hair (minimum length of 8 inches, I think) will help some poor kid whose fight with disease has left them bald (or, if they can't fashion it into a wig for a child, they will sell it to another vendor and the profits will go toward funding the foundation). If you're getting a hair cut anyway, why not put your disappearing locks to good use?
- Donate to a pet food bank. Have you switched pet food types recently, or lost a pet and still have chow for them? Much like human Food Banks, pet food banks accept donations of dry and wet food (and most shelters also accept toys, washed bedding, unopened pet medication, etc). They distribute the pet food to low-income households with pets (including seniors and service animal folks).
- Donate to a human food bank. You don't have to go out and buy groceries for someone else. Just look in the way back of your cupboard. See that mac-n-cheese box that's been sitting there unopened for 2 years? Why not donate it? If it's been in your pantry for a year or longer and is yet unopened/unused, chances are you won't actually use it. So donate those cans of chili and spaghetti sauce, and allow someone who is down on their financial luck to have a complete meal.
- Go through your closet and pull out those items you haven't worn in a year or more (or ever). Donate them to a thrift store, like Goodwill. Let them have a second life in someone else's closet, while freeing up space in your own.
- Donate time. Serve food at a soup kitchen, play with animals at a pet shelter, sing carols at a retirement home, etc. It's the cheapest and most rewarding thing, and it helps you break out of the consumer-driven rush of the holidays in a way that benefits the community.
What other things do you do with your energy and time to give back? I'd love to hear about it!
Thanks in advance for your altruism and selflessness. :)
Labels: DIY, randomness