This time of year it’s easy to get consumed with all the activities of summer. Cookouts, vacations, parties, special events, weddings – it’s amazing how quickly our weekends can fill up! We may see more of our friends and neighbors outside, but there is so much more we can do to build a better community rather than with just a friendly greeting.
- Get your produce at a farmer’s market.
Many cities have pop-up markets in the summertime where you can purchase fresh produce from nearby farms. This not only supports farmers in your area, but also helps ensure that you’re getting food that hasn’t been shipped from far away locations. It will be more fresh, taste better, and you’ll be keeping money within your own community.
- Bring a trash bag.
The next time you’re planning to go for a walk through your neighborhood, bring a trash bag along. Pick up any trash you find on the sidewalks and streets. Make it a game for the kids, and give away a prize for whoever picks up the most!
- Organize a clothing swap.
One person’s trash is another’s treasure! Invite your neighbors to participate by bringing their gently used clothing, books, and appliances, and provide some light refreshments for the event. Not only is it a great way to get to know people, but you can donate anything left over to your local shelter or thrift store.
- Donate to your local food bank.
Food banks supply non-perishable food items and provisions to people in need at no charge. Feeding America uses these food banks to get supplies to those who need it most. Here is a very helpful tool from Feeding America to find food banks in your area. At your next grocery trip, throw a few extra items in your cart and swing by a food bank on your way home. A little help goes a long way!
- Create a community garden.
Have a green thumb? If there’s already a community garden in your area, rent a plot and get to planting! It will reduce your carbon footprint, while also getting you involved with the other members of your community. If one of your crops does well and someone else’s doesn’t, you can plan produce exchanges! If there isn’t a garden in your area, get together with your neighbors to start one.
- Find your fit for volunteering.
If serving food at a soup kitchen isn’t really your thing, there are many of other ways to give back. You can help with human rights activities, providing support at senior centers and animal shelters, and even with arts and culture in your town. Volunteer Match is a great way to join forces with nonprofits in need of volunteers in your area.
[Credit: “13 Fun and Easy Ways to Give Back to Your Community.” The Huffington Post.]