6 Ways To Give Back In 2021
We all know that 2020 was unprecedented, stressful, and in the words of many, a dumpster fire.
But we learned a lot. Some of our learning was sought after: new hobbies, leveled-up cooking skills, creative ways to stay in touch with distant friends and family. But much of our learning was not what we were looking for. I think you know what falls in this category.
Along the way we did our best to stay on top of work, keep our homes running, and stay healthy. Some of us went the extra mile to support our neighborhoods and communities in large and small ways—watching a friend’s kids while they worked, volunteering at a food bank, donating clothing, and just generally looking out for each other.
This year promises to be more of the same. The needs around us remain high. Many of us are looking for a sense of purpose during these long, cold days. The opportunities to give back, if your circumstances allow it, are there.
Making a Difference in 2021
One of the best ways to feel a sense of control in an unpredictable situation can come from making a difference in someone’s life. Helping others makes us happier and gives us a sense of perspective. But it can be easy to get bogged down in the daily routine—especially this year—and lose sight of how much we have to give.
Anyone who works in sales, marketing, or L&D has skills that would be invaluable to a local non-profit or other group. Finding a local organization that can use your help is a great way to give back to your community. Hospitals, schools, youth groups, senior homes, or animal shelters are just a few of the types that can benefit from your time.
You can find opportunities close to home with a quick search online. Most organizations have updated their sites with pressing needs during the pandemic and anything you need to be aware of due to safety guidelines.
Allego Gives Back
Each year, Allego hosts an annual charity contest to raise awareness and funds for causes that are important to our team. Employees are invited to submit a short video describing why the organization is meaningful to them. After watching the videos, we choose three to support.
6 Ways to Lend a Hand in 2021
If lending a hand is on your list for 2021, take a look at these suggestions for how to begin.
1. Feed the Hungry
Over half of all soup kitchens, food pantries and other meal programs rely entirely on volunteers. Donating money or goods can help food go further now, when resources are stretched. Spending a few hours sorting, packing or delivering food can also make an enormous difference for food banks and the families they serve. Find out if your local school or community center hosts a pantry or food drive.
2. Donate Blood
The need for blood and platelets is constant. With the ongoing pandemic, the Red Cross needs the help of blood and platelet donors and blood drive hosts to meet the needs of patient care. A decision to donate your blood can save a life. Every day, blood donors help accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those battling cancer. Visit the American Red Cross to find a local drive.
3. Rescue an Animal
Animal rescues and shelters are always looking for dedicated and compassionate individuals who want to match their skills and interests with their love of animals. Adoption centers need volunteers to help with everything from feeding and training shelter animals, to providing care to community cats, to staffing special events, to general office support.
4. Mentor a Grad
A mentor guides a less experienced person by sharing their expertise and connections. Mentoring someone who would benefit from your skills, knowledge, and experience helps that individual and your community. You may know a junior colleague, student or mid-career changer whom you can help take his or her next step. These folks have been particularly impacted by job losses or professional stagnation during the pandemic. Big Brothers and Big Sisters and other non-profits can also connect you with folks in your area.
5. Clean a Park
Most communities have a park, roadway or playground that could use a little TLC. Consider getting a group together to pick up trash for an afternoon or as a regular event. All you need is a big box of trash bags, rubber gloves, and a bunch of volunteers. Sometimes all it takes is pointing out the area and folks are happy to lend a hand.
6. Help a Neighbor
You don’t have to go far or devote a lot of time to make a difference. Look around your neighborhood and you’ll most likely find an elderly person who lives alone, a young mother who has her hands full with a toddler, or a recent arrival who needs help finding the best grocery or nearby dentist. Simple things like shoveling after a storm, picking up a few things at the store, or lending a book can be enough to make their day.
You Can Do It
In 2021, consider finding a cause that matters to you and see how you can help. Raising money, collecting donations, organizing an event, volunteering or lending your expertise can make a huge difference. If you want to help but you’re stuck for ideas, reach out to any local group and learn what they need. You’ll create lasting memories for yourself and help your community thrive all year round.