There are a lot of things you can do to help people in your community, whether it's doing chores for a family member, or volunteering at a local homeless shelter. Even little things can brighten someone else's day.
Part 1 of 3: Helping Friends and Family
1 Ask what you can do to help. Talk to a family member or friend and ask what they most need help with and offer your services. By offering before they need to ask you, you are showing that you care about them.
- Remember to follow through with whatever they've asked of you. Simply asking won't actually help them.
- Make a routine of asking around your circle of friends and family for what they need. Before long, helping others will simply be second nature to you!
2 Listen. Often what people need is simply someone who will listen to them with kindness and without judgement. When someone is telling you about themselves, or a hardship they are going through, don't simply leap in with your own feelings, thoughts, and stories.
- Practice active listening. When you're listening to someone, stay focused on what they are saying. Look at the speaker and let go of distracting thoughts. If your mind wanders, the other person will notice and they won't feel like you are paying attention.
- Try to avoid making judgments on the person you're listening to. Not only will that close up the conversation, but it will make the other person feel as if they can't trust you with their thoughts.
3 Offer to do jobs or chores. When someone is busy or stressed chores and jobs often slip through the cracks. Find out from your family and friends what they're too busy or stressed to do for themselves and set aside some time to do the chore or job for them.
- Do something like, make a meal and bring it over to their house during a particularly busy or stressful time, so they don't have to worry about feeding themselves. This is a particularly kind thing to do for someone who has just had a loved one die, or become seriously ill.
- Offer to watch your younger siblings, or friend's children for free to give the parents a much needed break.
4 Send something to let them know you're thinking of them. A lot of times people can feel cut off from their friends and family and very alone. Just let a friend or family member know that you're thinking of them and that they are important to you. It doesn't have to be a big, grand gesture, something small will do fine.
- Write a nice email or letter and include some reason why you like the recipient. Maybe reminisce about something fun or silly the two of you did. If they've recently had a family member die or fall ill tell them why they are important to you.
- Make up a care package. Maybe put in some home-baked goods or some little things that they might enjoy. If they like to knit, maybe include a skein of a colorful yarn in the package.
Part 2 of 3: Helping in Your Community
1 Volunteer. Volunteering is great way to help out others in your community. Look around for a homeless shelter or soup kitchen and spend some time there doing whatever needs to be done. Not only will this help others, but you will get a new perspective on your own life.
- Work at a battered women's shelter and help women and children who have had traumatizing experiences get back on their feet.
- Try tutoring homeless children at the local shelter so that they can stay in school and not fall behind because the economy has been difficult for their family.
Volunteer for hospice and really listen to the stories of the people who are going through their final days. They will give you more perspective on the blessings and the hardships you will encounter in your own life
2 Donate to important causes. This can be anything from a monetary donation to a charity or items like clothing that are needed by a local food bank or shelter. If you don't have money to spare, look through your unused items and see what you can part with that is in decent condition.
- Donate foods like unopened spices, healthy non-perishable goods like canned soups, or beans.
- Give toys to the local shelters and food banks. Many of the children who take refuge there don't have any toys of their own.
3 Redirect gifts. Instead of getting lots of new presents every birthday or present giving holiday (like Christmas), have your friends and family make monetary donations to charities or some important cause.
- You could even set up a fund that they can donate into. For instance, creating a fund to help low-income children go to college.
4 Stop to help. If you see someone on the street who is struggling to carry all their groceries, or who needs money for a bus fare, give them a helping hand or some money. It usually doesn't take much to help another human being out.
- Keep in mind that they may not always need help. If someone says something like, "No thanks." or "I can handle it.", then just insisting may annoy them. You won't always be able to tell if they really do need your help, but it's best to back off if others are angry or in a hurry. However, if they refuse your help, you should ask one more time, and if they still refuse, then walk away.
Part 3 of 3: Helping Online for Free
It is not always possible to donate a considerable amount of time or money to causes. However, there are methods online that are both free and easy which allow anyone with internet access to help.
1 Play Free Rice. This is a simple website where you answer questions to donate rice to people in need. They work through the UN World Food Programme. Every time you answer a question, ten grains of rice are donated. There are a variety of categories, including vocabulary and geography
2 Use click-to-give websites such as GreaterGood. When doing this, you want to be sure they are giving to good charities. For example, one of the sections of this one donates to Autism Speaks, which is generally considered to be a charity that does more harm than good. However, the other sections are perfectly legitimate charities.