When we think of charity work and providing service to those around us, we may feel overwhelmed as we imagine labor-intensive and time-consuming projects such as rebuilding homes after natural disasters and cleaning up a run-down park in an older area of town. However, providing relief and help to others in our community doesn’t have to be anything difficult or extravagant. Think back to when you were facing something difficult in your life and remember what small things others did for you that really helped you. Maybe you received a thank-you note or were given a plate of cookies. Often small acts of kindness are all that is needed to be able to make a difference in someone else’s day. Here are six small and simple ways that you can help someone in need.


If you’re looking for something to do for others this week, make it a goal to donate to someone else in need; even if all you can give is $5. You can tip your waiter more than usual, give it to a homeless person, find a charity or good cause online, or tape a five-dollar bill to the vending machine on campus or at work. Even though $5 isn’t a lot of money, it can still help someone in need and brighten their day.

Initiate a Conversation

Whether you are on the bus or waiting in line at the grocery store, try starting a conversation with someone around you. You can begin by complimenting their outfit and then asking them how their day went. Make eye contact and pay attention to what they say. Having a quick but uplifting conversation can help raise that individual’s spirits for the rest of their day.

aGoodCause - Helping someone to enter the room

Hold the Door Open

It’s always nice when someone is willing to take a few extra seconds to hold the door open when you are entering a building or room. This small act doesn’t take a lot of time or effort, but your awareness of those around you can help them to feel noticed and valued.

Bring in the Trash Cans

On trash day, once the garbage man has done his rounds, bring your neighbor’s trash cans in from the curb and up their driveway. It won’t take you long, but your neighbor will appreciate the nice gesture.

Buy a Little Extra

Each time you’re at the grocery store this month, pick up a few extra canned goods. These don’t have to be expensive and you can even purchase ones that are on sale. After one month of buying a little bit extra food each visit to the grocery store, take these items down to the local shelter or to a neighbor in need. Even though you are donating just a little bit, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness and generosity.

Start a Fundraising Campaign

When someone you know is experiencing something difficult, it can be hard to know what exactly to do for them. However, starting a fundraising campaign can be a simple, but very helpful service to provide. Not only will the funds you raise provide some relief for them, in their time of need, but seeing the donations from their community members can help them to feel the love and support of others.

Even if you feel that you have limited resources or not enough time to volunteer, there are still plenty of ways you can help others in your community. Try doing one of these small acts and you’ll be surprised at the difference you can have on the lives of those around you.


Author:  Brindisi Olsen Bravo

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