Creative Ways to Give Back

There is nothing more satisfying than donating your time to enrich the lives of others. Just ask local volunteer Bill McCarthy who has dressed up in costume and dazzled families at Museum events for years. Over the years Bill has donned too many costumes to recount them all. Each costume carefully planned out and accessorized perfectly to bring the character to life. Perhaps you remember Bill as Father Time, Ben Franklin, an English chimney sweep, or maybe Mr. McGregor from Peter Rabbit.

One of Bill’s favorite costumes over the years was the English chimney sweep he portrayed one year for the New Year’s Eve Gala. Bill was the most cheerful chimney sweep you had ever met as he stood on stage handing out gold coins to the kids, helping them ring in the New Year. It is easy to tell from the grin on his face that he is having just as much fun as the kids, simply by volunteering his time and giving back to his community.

When it comes to giving back there are many alternatives to writing a check. You can’t put a price tag on donating your time and creativity to a good cause. You could be creative like Bill and volunteer to dress up and entertain children at a local event or hospital.
Or, maybe you would like to get the kids involved and volunteer as a family. There are many opportunities out there for families to teach their children the value of giving back to the community. How about helping out the local food pantry during these tough times. At your next birthday party ask everyone to bring a canned good item. Collect all the canned goods and drop them off at the food pantry. You could also host your own winter coat drive. Spread the word to family and friends that this year you will be collecting old coats to donate to a local homeless shelter. The coat drive is a win, win situation. Not only are you helping someone in need stay warm this winter, you are also helping family and friends clean out old coats that no longer fit and make room in their closet for new coats. If your family enjoys the outdoors try volunteering to clean up a local park or walk dogs at a local animal shelter. Perhaps you could host a bake sale, yard sale, or lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to a local charity.
By giving back to local causes not only are you helping those less fortunate you are also helping your own family as well. Giving to a local charity helps make our community a better place by providing goods and services to local people who may not otherwise have access to them. When we raise the standard of living for the least among us we raise our own standard of living in return.

Not only does volunteering give you a personal sense of accomplishment, it is also beneficial to your physical and emotional health. Studies show that people who volunteer live longer, are more mobile, have lower rates of depression and fewer cases of heart disease than people who do not volunteer. For more information click here. Helping others really does make people happier and healthier, it’s good to be good! For more ideas on how to volunteer in your community visit the PBS website click here.

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