3 Easy Ways to Share Blessings and Make a Difference
We all have full lives, don’t we? At the same time, you probably know someone who could use some kind of support. But where do you find the time or the bandwidth to make a difference when your plate is so full? Finding ways to give back can be overwhelming.
Research overwhelmingly shows that when you help others, you’re simply a happier person. Such as higher levels of happiness from those who volunteer, to those who give money to charity report feeling happier, even studies show young children are happier when they give treats to others.
At the same time, most Americans live paycheck to paycheck. An unfortunate health crisis, or an auto, appliance, or home repair could put some of us near financial disaster. Despair and hopelessness are a part of that ongoing pain.
I remember hearing a story about a man who was at the end of his ropes with life and was about to jump in front of a truck to end it all. Just before his fatal jump, a woman walking by him gave him a warm smile. That one small gesture of kindness, he said, saved his life.
As we approach the holidays there are ways to make a difference without spending a dime. Below is an easy road map to experience the joy of giving and making a difference for someone at a time in their life when they need it most.
Pick Your Person (Family) or Cause:
Often, the needs of those who could use support can be invisible. The challenges are not as obvious as a homeless person in the street needing food and shelter.
Others who might need some help can include single moms; someone who has had a health crisis; a teacher struggling to buy supplies for their class; someone who has recently lost a loved one or their precious pet; someone who has lost their job; and/or a neighbor who needs physical support to get on her roof.
When you’re helping someone, kindness and caring are the actual focal points. Anything you do will make an impact. Remember, you’re not there to fix anything, or anyone, you are there as a kind gesture from your heart to help another human being during a difficult time.
Ways to Give Back Without Breaking the Bank
For us as clean food advocates, we typically think in terms of how to make a difference through food and nutrition. There are many food and nutrition-focused non-profits that contribute food to families. There are also drop boxes within our communities at our local grocery stores. A couple of cans of food will make a difference for someone, and you get to experience the joy of giving to a local cause during the holidays.
Giving doesn’t have to be $100 in groceries, it can be as simple as a few cans of organic beans or your special recipe for homemade soup. Someone will be grateful to receive your gifts and feel thankful they are feeding their family with real food. It’s often easier for people to receive a kind gesture of food vs cash because sometimes receivers struggle with being seen as needy or unable to take care of themselves.
Volunteer Your Time:
Take your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews to a food pantry or soup kitchen to volunteer. We never know what will touch their heart and make a lifelong impact on them in their career and personal lives. Sometimes these are where the “aha” moments arise. Spending time with others when they are in a time of need will also foster your child’s imagination and impact THEIR heart.
You could also have you and your children deliver a meal or food to a senior in your neighborhood or participate with a non-profit that makes deliveries. Many of our seniors who have given back their entire lives are now living a lonely life. The meal or food is only one aspect. The visit, especially with a child, will brighten their day.
Another great idea is raking someone’s leaves or shoveling their snow. If you’re a cold-weather person, being outside in the elements can fill your soul.
If you have the financial means, this opens doors to help others who are helping others and can provide a global impact. One option is the World Central Kitchen. This global non-profit focuses on helping feed people during crises, including weather disasters and in times of war.
Create a Group Project:
Ok, this one is a bit more than easy and will take time and energy to create.
You could adopt a family that would welcome a boost. You might want to inspire your friends and family to come together and contribute money, children’s, and adult gifts, or even purchased or homemade food.
Letting someone know you are thinking of them and caring for them touches their hearts and eases anxiety, even if for a moment. You might even stretch yourself and give to someone you wouldn’t normally give to. It could even be someone you disagree with politically. Yes, I suggested that. 🙂
Remember, no one wants to be fixed or judged or be seen as needy. I’ve personally made the mistake of trying to be a “savior.”
Back in my construction days when I renovated properties in Detroit and for non-profits, it didn’t take long for someone to point out that I was in the mindset of being a savior. I honestly didn’t realize I was trying to save people. No one wants to be saved.
I’m grateful for that conversation to this day. I went from trying to save people to being someone in the community that makes a difference. A lot of friendships and collaborations were born from that synergy. Deep down we can all relate to wanting a deeper sense of connection with others and ultimately ourselves.
Being kind gives others access to their own kindness. Love goes a long way. Simple acts of kindness don’t have to cost a thing.
Would love to hear about the projects or ways you are blessing others this holiday season.
Have a blessed holiday.
To Your Exquisite Health.
The Good Fat Company Team.