There are plenty of ways you can make a difference in someone’s life just through a simple gesture. Whether you’re looking to volunteer your time, donate money, or just lend a helping hand, here are seven random acts of kindness you can perform in your community today.
1. PICK UP THE TRASH.
A lot of municipalities don’t have the manpower to clean up litter from every stretch of roadway, park, or bus stop, but you can help. Just get a few garbage bags, a pair of sturdy shoes, and some protective gloves, and start clearing the garbage yourself. Cleaning up your community is an easy way to get some quick exercise and beautify your area on a weekend morning. You can probably convince a couple friends from the neighborhood to help, too. And who knows? Maybe you’ll inspire some strangers to join in.
2. HELP A NEIGHBOR WITH YARDWORK AND SNOW REMOVAL.
As the colder months approach, there will be plenty of leaves that need raking and sidewalks to be shoveled. For many members of your neighborhood, this kind of strenuous activity isn’t so easy to accomplish, and something as routine as a few inches of snow can make it impossible for them to even leave their homes. So when you know a storm is coming, volunteer to clear their sidewalks, stairs, and driveways.
3. VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME.
Maybe there’s a local animal shelter that needs a helping hand or a neighborhood food pantry that is always understaffed. Whatever cause you’re passionate about, there are always places in that field that could use volunteers. Many of these institutions offer vital services to the community but depend on volunteers to keep the doors open. Keep your eyes open around your community and look for a spot that you might fit in.
4. HELP SOMEONE WITH THEIR GROCERIES.
Next time you’re on line at the grocery store and see someone counting out bills and coming up a bit short, offer to make up the difference in their bill. It’s a simple way to make someone’s life a little easier, and it’s this type of kindness that will be remembered by that person for a long time.
A much more common site in the grocery store is an elderly customer struggling with their heavy bags. Give them a hand by walking them to their car, loading the bags inside, and putting their shopping cart back when you’ve finished.
5. DONATE TO A LOCAL SHELTER.
Local homeless shelters are often in need of supplies, and you likely have more than enough in your own home to donate today. These donations are especially important in the winter when jackets, sweaters, boots, and warm pants are in high demand. If you can’t find anything in your own home, you can always purchase new items for the shelter. Another simple way to help out is by donating food items. Take a trip to your local food bank and see what they need. Most of the time this list will include canned goods and other non-perishable items like granola bars and peanut butter.
6. LEAVE A BIG TIP.
It’s an accepted practice to tip a waiter or waitress at a restaurant, but you can go above and beyond from time to time if you have some extra money. If you’re at your favorite local café or restaurant, you can always give your server a few more dollars—maybe anywhere from 25 to 33 percent and beyond—especially when your service is exceptional. Juggling multiple tables and customers is a thankless task at times, and it’s always appreciated when they find some extra money on the table when you leave.
7. BUY SOMEONE COFFEE.
A cup of coffee goes a long way, and a free one goes even further. There are a lot of ways you can buy someone a cup of coffee, too. Maybe you can hand a few out to the local crossing guards in your town that have to brave the cold every morning. Or you can buy a few cups for any workers doing construction or other projects on your block in the winter. There are also coffee gift cards you can hand out to postal workers, police officers, and firefighters in your community.
This one is probably the easiest: simply buy a cup for a stranger behind you on line either at a coffee shop or at the drive-thru. It’s a small gesture that can really give someone an extra boost for the day. These acts also have a habit of motivating others to pay it forward and do their own act of kindness.