One of the many things my mother taught me was that a vital and satisfactory part of being human is having the opportunity to be of service to anyone who comes along our path. I've always had a giving nature to me, but it wasn't until I realized just how positively I could impact the lives of those around me, that I could use that giving nature to also enrich my life.
Acting in service doesn't require riches. It doesn't require boat loads of time. But it sure does make our lives feel a whole lot more fine (did that rhyme??).
Have you ever experienced the joy of giving? I'm sure you have. Many of us have given a loved one a meaningful gift or made a donation to our favourite charities. I know for me, one of my most favourite memories was the smile and gratefulness on a man's face when I brought him a pair of socks, gloves, a hat, and a warm meal during a cold Toronto winter when I was in high school. Or the time my siblings and I wrote out 100 reasons why we love our mom. Her smile and loving hug made everything feel right in the world.
It's these kinds of moments that I love looking back on and thinking "Wow, I am so blessed to be living a life full of connection, compassion, and unity".
If you look back on your life, I hope you have some of these warm and fuzzy moments too. If you're not a warm and fuzzy person, maybe you can think of a time that you were able to positively impact the life of someone else. No need for smiles or hugs, just a mutual feeling of gratitude and acceptance. After all, it is these moments (I'm assuming) that we reflect on when the majority of our lives become distant memories.
Okay ANYWAYS, what I'm trying to say here is that GIVING, whether it's your time, money, a gesture, listening ear, a skill, etc. brings fulfillment not only to your life, but the lives of those around you.
I can certainly tell you that I am beyond grateful for the times my friends, loved ones, and random strangers have given me help, advice, or even a smile, when I needed it most.
HelpGuide.Org says that just 100 volunteer hours a year can have significant positive impacts on our lives. Oh, by the way, that turns out to be less than 2 hours a week in service. This small amount of time each year allows us to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
You might be thinking 'Lexi, only privileged people with a ton of time and money can volunteer or give'. And I would tell you that this is not the case. While there are A LOT of people who have way bigger fish to fry than donating to a food bank or delivering groceries for an elderly person, there are very simple and small ways you can be of service to anyone and everyone, despite money or time.
So here is a list of a variety of ways you can act in service (some require $, some don't). No more excuses!
1. SMILE at strangers.
2. HUG the people in your life. They say 12 hugs a day for 20 seconds can a seriously positive impact to a person's mental health.
3. Donate non-perishables to a food-bank (you can find some food banks here). If you can't donate, volunteer your time!
4. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
5. Clean up litter on a walk.
6. Make Care Packages and hand them out to homeless people in a major city near you (include a PB&J sandwich, socks, toothbrush, etc.).
7. Start a food-drive. We did this by dropping off 20 bags at our neighbours' with a brief description of what we were doing. We gave them 24 hours to fill the bag if they could, and picked it up the next day to bring the our local food bank).
8. See What Your Local Hospital or Animal Shelters Need. Whether it's volunteers, supplies, or specific skills, you can most likely find a way to help (during Covid-19 I sewed 50 bags for nurses in the ICU to properly wash their scrubs without infecting their loved ones).
10. Become a Big Brother or Big Sister. Help youth in need in your community by becoming a mentor. It requires only a few hours every 2 weeks and can literally change a child's life for the better.
11. Donate Blood! It's not scary and it takes about an hour. Donating blood can mean life or death for some people. Find out how and where you can donate here.
12. Mow or Shovel Your Neighbours Lawn/Driveway. This is a great one for kids.
13. Write Inspirational Messages in Your Neighbourhood. You can do this by writing cute chalk messages on a walk, or leaving posters in your window that encourage humanity to be happy.
14. Adopt or Foster an Animal. This one is a no brainer.
15. Adopt or Foster a Child(ren). I was lucky enough to grow up with 4 foster siblings for the majority of my life (Thank you to my parents for this gracious and humbling experience).
16. Plant Milkweed in Your Yard or a Forest. This brings the butterflies, and who doesn't smile when they see butterflies?
17. Volunteer at a Local Shelter. Whether it's prepping meals, doing intake, answering phones, or whatever else is necessary, your local shelter could most-likely use some help.
I could probably think of a lot more places you can volunteer but I hope you get the gist. Is there something I'm missing? Let me know in the comments.
Imagine how much of a happier and better place our world would be if we each took a bit of our time to give or act in service to others. I can only dream of a time where every person can find the joy and serenity that helping others can bring to our lives.
So, have I convinced you yet? I hope you're already brainstorming your next move to help someone in need. If not, that's okay. Maybe it's not your time. But when it is, you can visit this blog to remind you why acts of service are a simple gift of life.
If you're ready to hop on the giving train, let me know below what you plan to do.
XOXO, Lexi Earthy Sisters