Humans are, by nature, very social creatures. The idea of community is ingrained in all of us. The Norman Rockwell image of small-town Americana and neighborhood friendliness is something we all aspire to hang onto, despite commerce’s leanings to the contrary. With the speed and availability of online shopping, it’s more important than ever to help local businesses. The only way that brick and mortar stores will be able to stay open is with their community’s support. 

Getting involved with your community is a sacrifice, of your time and/or money. With the right outlook, however, it can even more fulfilling as a paycheck. The first thing to ask yourself is what you’re truly passionate about. There is no shortage of areas to choose from. Remember that if you are doing something you are invested in emotionally, the sense of accomplishment and pride will grow exponentially as you see the positive effect you have on others. 

Start by researching local fairs and festivals. The majority will have locally-sourced refreshments and/or entertainment. In more urban areas, it is less likely that you will have a farm-to-table experience, but by visiting local establishments, you are helping them keep their doors open. 

There is nothing more valuable than your time. Volunteering your free time to benefit another person’s life is one of the most selfless and rewarding things you can do. This can include visiting the elderly in retirement homes, providing meals on wheels, helping out our Nation’s Veterans, or volunteering al local animal shelters and pet rescues. 

When people think of donations, their first thoughts might be of the monetary kind. The truth is there are numerous resources that are already found in your own home that can help improve the lives of others. Gently used clothing and shoes are always welcome at local donation centers, and there are food drives held throughout the year to give people the opportunity to donate non-perishable items to families in need. If you have a specific cause you fight for, such as domestic violence, you can sponsor survivors and their families. Many local non-profit organizations hold fundraisers throughout the year and they need assistance with supplies and organization. Using social media to help spread the word is another great way to support your community.

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