8 Thoughtful Ways to Give Back
to Your Community

See also: Transferable Skills

Our neighborhoods and hometowns are likely to have played a significant role in shaping us into the people we are today. They probably led us to cross paths with our best friends and were the locations for most of the important moments in our lives. It’s our duty and obligation to remember the places that raised us.

Here are eight thoughtful ways to give back to your community.

1. Volunteering

Every community has a pressing need for volunteers. You can devote your free time to non-profit organizations, schools, churches, homeless shelters and many other places that rely on volunteers for their operations. Just a few hours a week of volunteer work can help change the lives of underprivileged people in your town.

2. Donations

A simple gift is always a viable way to show gratitude and repay your community. If you have money, clothes, food, toys and other goods to spare, give them to someone in your area who needs them more. Most community centers have donation programs that you can contribute to, so you should have no issue finding a place that’s willing to take your money or household items.

3. Fundraisers and Charity Events

We all have community causes that we’re passionate about. Put your passion to work and participate in a fundraiser or charity event to raise money and awareness. Look out for upcoming events in your area and see if you identify with any of their causes. If you have the resources, you can also organize an event yourself with the help of a local business.

4. Environmental Efforts

Our communities could greatly benefit from eco-friendly citizens, especially as the effects of climate change expand. You can help your local environment with many small efforts:

  • Buy food and products with natural ingredients from local vendors.
  • Grow your own food sources in your yard.
  • Walk or ride a bike to your destination, if feasible.
  • Dispose of waste responsibly.
  • Monitor your home’s energy consumption.
  • Switch to renewable energy sources.
  • Clean up local parks and other outdoor community areas.
  • Spend more time outside overall.

Most of these things are key elements of a healthy lifestyle anyway, so you have every reason to add them to your routine. They will enable your personal wellness and your community’s wellness.

5. Disaster Relief

Whether it’s an earthquake, tornado or tropical storm, all communities experience natural disasters on occasion. You can be a helping hand if and when disaster strikes. Some people donate food, clothes and other emergency resources, while others brave the harsh conditions to clean up debris and search for missing persons with a disaster response team.

You don’t have to risk your life, but any assistance in such a time-sensitive situation can save someone else’s. Effective disaster relief keeps families and communities intact, and you can play a role in executing that relief.

6. Medical Support

Health issues plague all of our communities, even touching the most innocent and vulnerable members of society. 16,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in the United States alone, and elderly populations suffered the most from the COVID-19 pandemic. You can help these people through financial and emotional support.

Spend time at local senior communities and work with foster care homes and other youth services. Organizations like the St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Children Cancer Foundation are always looking for donations. Along with helping the sick and elderly, these actions will remind you to appreciate your own health and the health of your loved ones.

7. Military Aid

Though you might not know them, active military members and veterans are present in every community. These people risked their lives and experienced severe trauma to protect their fellow citizens, so we should be eager to repay them. Check out your local police and fire departments, military bases and veteran’s organizations to find ways to support the troops.

One thoughtful way to express your thanks is to write a letter to current or former soldiers and tell them that the community appreciates their sacrifice. Many veterans struggle with PTSD and other mental health issues, so small reminders like letters can significantly improve their mental states and help them recover from their service.

8. Random Acts of Kindness

Sometimes random acts of kindness are the best ways to express your appreciation for your community. Every day brings new opportunities for you to brighten someone’s day and make a small difference. Here are some examples:

  • Compliment a stranger.
  • Take the time to actively listen to someone.
  • Assist a neighbor with a chore.
  • Help an elderly person cross the street.
  • Give a waiter or waitress a generous tip.
  • Hold the door or elevator open for someone.
  • Buy a surprise gift for a friend or family member.
  • Bring in snacks for your co-workers.
  • Be kind and encouraging to everyone you encounter.

The world would be a better place if random acts of kindness were more common. You can spark an attitude change and bring your community closer together with these simple gestures.

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Set an Example in Your Community

In a world full of chaos and instability, keeping a community together is no easy task. Through these eight actions, you can set an example for your neighbors and encourage them to invest more time and effort into their community. Every day is a new chance to make a positive impact, so get out there and do something thoughtful today.

About the Author

Ava Roman (she/her) is the Managing Editor of Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life. When Ava is not writing you'll find her in a yoga class, advocating for body positivity, whipping up something delicious in the kitchen,  or smashing the patriarchy.