With fall already underway, a new season of giving has also just arrived. Busy schedules and complex lives often keep us away from participating in charitable activity. So, here are ten easy ways that we can all be charitable in our everyday life.
Amazon, the online marketplace, has developed a way for shoppers to donate to select organizations through their purchases. Amazon says on their website, “The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers.” Shoppers are able to contribute to their organization of choice by shopping through the AmazonSmile website (smile.amazon.com). This is an easy way to donate without breaking the bank.
Kroger has paved a way for customers to give through their Plus Cards. Kroger Community Rewards allows card holders to enroll in a program that uses their points to give to local schools, churches and other non-profit organizations. This program allows customers to easily donate by just shopping at Kroger and using their Plus Card. Reward cards are easy to apply for with a short application form and are always available in-store.
If a large amount of coins have been sitting in a corner of a shelf or countertop, there is a way to easily transform them into charitable funds With the Coins That Count charity program, Coinstar kiosks allow users to donate their change directly to organizations instead of receiving a cash voucher. When donating, people have a variety of charity organizations that they may donate to, including the World Wildlife Fund, the American Red Cross, the Humane Society and Feeding America. Coinstar kiosks can be found in many grocery stores, including Kroger, throughout Macon.
- A Thrift Store Donation
If donating cash is not possible, perhaps parting with a few unused odds and ends from your home is better. There are many local and national thrift store organizations that are willing to take in lightly used clothing, furniture and housewares to generate funds for their causes. Not only are people able to do something with their unused products, but they are able to donate directly without spending money. Additionally, it is possible for donors to receive a tax credit for their donations, and many organizations will come and pick up items up from their homes. Two thrift stores that are always able to give out these tax credits and are near Mercer’s campus are the Salvation Army and Goodwill.
- Donate Your Old Books
Friends of the Library Macon has been serving Middle Georgia libraries since 1966. Annually, the organization hosts an old book sale that benefits the Macon-Bibb county library system. Throughout the year, people are able to donate gently used books for the upcoming old book sale on select days of the week. More information on how to participate can be found on their organization website at www.friendsofthelibrarymacon.com.
- Donate Money or Food Items to Food Bank
The Middle Georgia Community Food Bank accepts donations everyday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from their warehouse. If providing a monetary donation is not feasible, think about donating acceptable food items to a local food pantry. These organizations provide hungry and low-income people the opportunity to receive the food they need. Middle Georgia Community Food Bank is also able to arrange for large donation pickups if needed.
- Give Blood
Every 2 seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. Becoming a blood donor will allow for life-saving transfusions to be made possible. Further, one donor can potentially help more than one patient. Throughout the month of October and into the early part of November, there are many opportunities for Middle Georgia community members to donate blood through the American Red Cross. To find out more information on how to give blood and who is eligible, visit the American Red Cross website at www.redcrossblood.org.
- Donate New or Unwanted Pet Supplies
Many local animal shelters in the Middle Georgia area, like All About Animals Rescue Macon, will accept new and unwanted pet supplies. Many of the websites for these organizations have wish lists describing what items are currently needed to run their facilities. Largely, pet food is needed for the animals at these places. People are able to drop off these items by contacting the animal welfare organizations and arranging for a delivery.
Volunteering offers the opportunity for individuals to give back on their own time. Many local Macon organizations like the Daybreak Center located in downtown Macon and United Way need volunteers to help cut cost for their operations. Volunteers have the ability to work directly with people benefitting from these local programs and offer help to areas of the organization where it is needed. Often these volunteer opportunities are flexible and work with individuals’ schedules.
- Pay it Forward
Sometimes a nice gesture is all someone needs to completely change their life. All too often, people underestimate the positive impact just being kind has on one another. In a controlled environment, University of California, San Diego and Harvard University found that the “pay it forward” model does work to enhance a person’s ego and the kind acts performed do spread from person to person to person by way of mimicking. Whether it is holding the door, giving praise to someone or sharing a smile, these are all simple ways to be charitable.