In this time of giving and lots of “stuff” I try to make an effort to give back more to the greater world around me. Sometimes this involves writing a cheque (or these days filling out a secure form online and using my credit card), being kind to a store clerk who has obviously had a bad day, or making something and giving it away to someone i do not and will never know.
Given the current health of the economy I feel it is even more important now to give back whenever and where ever I can. My life is blessed with with good health, a home, employment, family, and friends. It pains me that I often have all of this and many others have nothing. So how do I give back?
(1) I shop local small businesses whenever and wherever I can. I try to avoid the chain stores and have patience if shopping local means I need to (gasp!) wait.
(2) I try to shop at the local farmer’s market whenever I can. Here in NYC I’m lucky that if I plan my route right I can go every day of the week. In general I go to the Union Square market on Mondays, Wednesdays, and if the weather is good (because I’m making a special trip in) Fridays. It’s also open on Saturdays but that doesn’t help me very much. Check out the American Farmland Trust. Houses do not feed us though I do not deny decent housing is important. The many developments springing up around the country (and especially in the areas I grew up) are evil and not well planned despite what is said. I’m curious to see what the new economy does to them and our future.
(3) I give to my local libraries. This is really important to me. If I actually feel I can part with a book I often give it to them to either *use* or sell in a book sale to generate needed funding.
(4) Give to your college. If it wasn’t for alumnae grants I would not have been able to afford to go to college, must less the one I went to. Sure, it’s painful if you are still paying off your student loans, but $10 can make a difference in the long run. Do you really need that grande latte?
(6) Support Public Radio and Television. Or support your favourite show or local station.
(7) BUY HANDMADE!! I cannot stress this enough. Etsy is a good place to start or go look at designer’s pages they may sell things on their own. (nb: there is no rhyme or reason to how I ordered those links!)
(8) Make something and then give it away to those that need it. WarmUpAmerica is great and I plan to make lots of baby hats because they save lives (hey, are *you* wearing a hat? adults need hats too!). If you live in NYC you can bring in your hats to the Lion Brand Yarn Studio until January 15th “and [they] will take care of shipping them . . . AND as a thank you for you good works, you will receive a 20% off coupon for your next purchase at Lion Brand Yarn Studio.”
(9) Give to a school, I’ve not yet used this organisation but I’ve heard good things about DonorsChoose.
If you need some more links to help you give back let me know and I’ll look them up for you.