A little can go a long way.
Small acts of generosity can change a person's life.
I have seen it first hand.
Lately, I have been really intentional about generous acts of service and ways that I can help the community that I am in. I realize that I have a personal responsibility to do a little more, give a little more and be a little more to others who don't have as much. Everyday, there are stark reminders of how fortunate we are, if we just paid attention to them. Reminders like: clean water, hot meals, warm beds, sturdy roofs and clean clothes are not everyone's reality. And I believe that it is the responsibility of us who are doing better off to lend a hand to those in need.
Where I work, there is a large homeless presence and day in and day out it never really occurs to me to do much about it. I assume: the problem is too big, there's no way I can make an impact. I work close to downtown in an urban environment, where, spread throughout the area are various pockets of poverty. It's a fairly safe neighborhood, however the homeless population "interferes" with the project I am working on. I work in Property Management and the current property we're building is a luxury apartment community right off of the water. At this price point, the future tenants are not going to want to be "bothered" with the homeless population. They are not going to want to see, interact or even be around them. Sounds harsh while typing, but it's the sad reality. I would sit in meetings agreeing with my teammates that someone needed to do something about the homeless "problem" not realizing, that someone could be me. Why wait for someone to step in and help, when I could use the resources that I have to do what I can.
That's not to say I'm donating all my clothes and giving all my money away, because #BudgetLife, nor does that mean that I will be turning my apartment into a homeless shelter but I can give an extra dollar or two to the person on the corner. I can afford to buy a meal at any fast food restaurant and pass it out. I can volunteer a few hours a week or month to a local organization. I can make small sacrifices that can impact somebody else's world.
Something I love that my church teaches is that we as leaders are called to be thermostats, not thermometers (other articles here and here and here), meaning we are called to change the temperature not just reflect the temperature. And that had me wondering how is my immediate surrounding changed when I walk in the room, or am I just reflecting what's already happening? How is my community, my workplace, my friends, my family different because I am there? That's not to say that the community needs to revolve around me, however how I am influencing positive change in and around the people and environments that I have been placed in?
So I've been thinking.
Thinking about ways that I can give my time and resources to help others. Thinking about ways that I can spread a little more kindness in this world. Thinking about ways I can be the change I want to see.
And thinking that I can't do this on my own.
That I'll need a lot of help. That my reach will need go further than just South Florida.
Thinking I would love if you joined along with me in some of these things. This isn't a sponsor a child post, or donate your money here post. But it's a call to action for us all to do little things around our community that will make it better.
So here are some ways and ideas that we can spread a little love and kindness:
- Offer a genuine compliment to someone you don't know.
- Volunteer a few hours on the weekend at a shelter.
- If you have a pet, volunteer a few hours at your vet's office.
- Purchase an extra bag of pet food and drop it off at a shelter.
- Donate old clothes. Not to places that will turn a profit, but try to find places like shelters who give them away.
- Spend time with the elderly.
- Donate blankets and pillows.
- Buy a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and jelly. Make sandwiches. Pass them out.
- Could also be done with bologna and cheese too.
- Treat someone to dinner.
- While you're at dinner, leave a large tip.
- Also while at a restaurant, set aside a little of your meal, or even better: buy a separate meal, to give to someone in need.
- Let someone cut in front of you in line.
- Offer to pay for the meal behind you in the fast food line.
- Treat a child to ice cream on a hot day (ask the parent first).
- Donate your time to a local school. Reading programs still matter.
- Leave little love notes around your community:
- Bathrooms / Dressing Rooms
- Car windows
- People and organizations you can thank with a note:
- Local law enforcement
- People in the military
- Leaders in your life
- Pay someone's overdue library fines or a child's overdue school lunches.
- Take advantage of BOGO coupons and give away the free item to a shelter or someone in need.
- Offer assistance with someone's groceries.
- Buy bottles of water and pass out on a hot day.
- Pay the toll for the car behind you.
- Drop in a few quarters at a parking meter.
- Actually put your shopping cart back.
- Bring breakfast into work for your teammates.
- Trash pick up on the beach or highways.
These are the ideas that I came up with, however I know there are millions more. Please leave suggestions in the comments!