Now in its 24th year, the main focus of USA Today’s Make A Difference Day is to inspire volunteer efforts that help improve the lives of others. In honor of this initiative, which is celebrated on October 24th this year, we’d like to share some of our favorite ways to give back to the community.
Clothes Donations and Swaps
The changing of the seasons is a great time to clean out your closets and find new homes for your unwanted items. If you’re looking to simplify and get rid of the things you don’t need anymore, why not donate them to a great cause? Thrift shops, such as Goodwill stores and community- or church-run organizations, accept donations year-round, and help provide people in need with jobs and resources they need to pursue better opportunities.
Community clothing swaps are also great ways to repurpose items that might be collecting dust in your closet. This can be a great opportunity to save money by swapping Halloween costumes or to help provide others with essentials like winter gear like coats, hats, and gloves.
Most food banks are in need of donations throughout the year, but they often see an influx of requests around the holidays. Organizing a food drive is a great way to bring members of your community together and provide assistance in a very easy, direct way. Whether you decide to set up a collection box in your office, your child’s classroom, or at a local business, it’s a great way to make a difference and get others involved too!
Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
Helping at your local animal shelter is a fun and easy way to get kids excited about volunteering. Even if your family is not in a position where they can foster a pet in need, many organizations are looking for people who are able to take dogs for walks or socialize with other shelter pets, such as cats and rabbits, so they’ll be adoption-ready when they finally find their forever home. Some organizations might have age requirements for kids who help at the shelter, but there are plenty of ways you can still contribute without actually going to the facility, such as running a supply drive, making homemade treats for the shelter animals, or making a donation to the animal food bank.
Help Make a Wish Come True
It’s difficult to see anyone suffer, but it can be especially heartbreaking to see children who are in extreme need. Whether you’re looking to help fulfill the wish of a child with terminal illness, would like to create care packages for children whose families were the victims of disaster, or simply would like to provide a child in need with a little encouragement when they need it most, there are plenty of worthy organizations whose missions support this initiative.
We’d love to hear about some of your favorite organizations to volunteer with—Feel free to tell us about your experiences in the comments!