Marian Wright Edelman once stated that “service is the rent we pay for living” and these words are really wise to live by. In the midst of your busy schedule, take an honest look at how much time you use to serve others. If you’re always serving yourself, you’re not able to fully experience the joy of giving. Plus, no man is an island. There are people in need and if you’re in a position to help, you absolutely should. Consider these four ways you can contribute to your community.
1. Host an after-school extra-curricular activity for children.
There are many children who are considered latch-key kids. Because their parents are working late hours, these children come home to empty homes and are alone until bedtime. The after-school hours are some treacherous times and a lot of kids can get themselves into mischief and trouble. In order to prevent this, consider starting an after-school program to keep children busy during those hours. Connect with the middle and high schools to find student volunteers to help with the program.
2. Arrange a neighborhood clean-up effort.
Unfortunately, many people don’t care about recycling. It’s really disrespectful to take trash and just throw it out of a moving vehicle. In fact, it’s illegal in most states. However, this rule doesn’t stop people from doing it. As a result of their carelessness, a lot of trash collects in the public areas like sidewalks and street corners. A great way to combat this error is through arranging a neighborhood clean-up effort. Pick a day or an afternoon where people can come together with recycling bins and trash cans. Make sure that everyone has latex gloves and tools to stay clean while they’re doing the dirty work. As more people join the effort, it’ll be a lot nicer to see the neighborhood look good. All it takes is one person to get the effort started. Take a cue from people like Neill Sullivan Oakland who has been intentional about making a difference in the upkeep of the neighborhoods in his community.
3. Plant gardens and beautify the area.
Many shelter blogs and home decor professionals encourage people to keep indoor plants all over the home. This is because plants are great for air purification and beauty. The same can be said for the outdoors. When an area is maintained with beautifully manicured lawns, flowers and lots of trees, people tend to be proud of where they live. In order to cultivate this pride and encourage the beautification of the neighborhood, consider planting gardens in various areas. Gather a few people who are willing to spend a day planting and creating a stunning garden. Whether it’s by a local park or near the bus stop, plant a few seasonal flowers and make the area look beautiful. As people see what you’re doing, they’ll want to join in and help.
4. Host a local farmer’s market effort.
There are many people who would love to have access to the organic fruits and vegetables found at Whole Foods and other high-end grocery stores. Unfortunately, many of the healthier foods are extremely expensive and spoil quickly. Find one of the lower-income neighborhoods in your community and set-up a farmer’s market effort. Find farmers who are willing to sell their produce in the neighborhood. Some might be willing to sell their produce at a discounted rate.
It’s also a good idea to start a crowdfunding account and raise money to subsidize the costs of fresh produce. Ask farmers to advertise their prices as half off and you can pay the difference. Once you have a number of farmers who are willing to sell their produce, set a date and let the members in the neighborhood know. This is extremely beneficial because it allows people to have access to really healthy foods and take care of their families.
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