Do you keep a gratitude journal or practice another form of gratitude mindfulness? According to quite a bit of academic and clinical research over the past several years, practicing gratitude is good for your physical and mental health. As we approach the holidays, it’s a great time to think about all of the things you’re grateful for—as well as how you can “pay it forward” and give back to your community! And of course, since the holidays are all about spending time with family and friends, you might as well get them involved, too. Check out these fun ways to get your whole family involved with giving back, and spread the gratitude around. After this year, people need it more than ever.
Have you ever been passing through your neighborhood and thought, “Hey, what’s with all this litter? Someone should do something about it!” Well, good news—that someone can be you and your family. Adopting a highway, road, or park is a great way to improve your community in a tangible way, while also spending quality time with family, friends, and neighbors.
Indiana has an Adopt-a-Highway program you can check out, or you can contact your local city or county government for information about adopting a road or park. Pick a day to get together with your group and be sure to have the equipment and safety knowledge you need before you begin your community cleanup.
If your kids are old enough, volunteering at a food bank or soup kitchen is a great way to serve others. It will certainly give you and your kids a whole new appreciation for the food in your pantry and fridge! Food banks often need volunteers to help sort and organize donations, while shelters and soup kitchens often need help preparing and serving food. Remember that folks who may be using a community resource like a food bank or soup kitchen are regular people just like you. A friendly smile or kind word can help put them (and you!) at ease. You might be surprised at some of the connections you make when you take the time to give back to the most vulnerable people in your community, especially since food insecurity is such a shockingly widespread issue.
Food banks get the most “bang for the buck” from monetary donations, which they can use (often with bulk discounts) to fill in the gaps of whatever they happen to be lacking in inventory. Consider raising money for your local food bank or other organization you care about by hosting a fundraiser! At Richmond 40 Bowl, we make fundraising easy, but better yet, we also make it fun! Our bowling fundraiser events are affordable and don’t involve a lot of investment from the host group, unlike other fundraisers that require a huge operations budget and a professional event planner. Attendees will love that they can hang out, socialize, and go bowling while helping a good cause. Volunteers will love that they don’t have to go door to door, collect forms or payments, or deal with delivering fragile or perishable goods. That’s a win-win for everyone!