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Top Five Ways to Serve Your Community When You’re Busy

 

PHOTO SOURCE: https://i.imgur.com/dIh35fZ.png

Many of us, upon hearing the words “donate”, “serve”, or “volunteer” in the same sentence, have to fight an uncomfortable sense of guilt. With the busy lives most of us lead, it’s nearly impossible to find a spare moment to ourselves, much less extra time to give to others! However, nothing is more rewarding than knowing something you did has benefited someone else.

Here are some ideas for how to serve others when you’re low on time.

Donate Money or Belongings 

If you really don’t have any spare time but want to do your part to help the community, a great way to do so is to donate.

You can do a quick Google search to find a charity that aligns with your values to donate a monetary gift to. You can also donate old clothes or belongings to Goodwill. If you happen to have a spare car (even if it doesn’t run!), places like humancars.org will take them off your hands for free, and use the proceeds to save animals.

Volunteer Virtually via Micro-volunteering 

A typical volunteer shift can last anywhere from 5 to 9 hours. Most people only have a couple of hours of free time a day. Insert “micro-volunteering” here.

Micro-volunteering shifts last a few minutes too if you want! Best of all, these opportunities can be completed from home, which is especially great if the only time you have is late at night.

You can volunteer online for mentorship, tutoring, or editing positions. You can volunteer to help build a website, volunteer for call centers, and more. You can even be paired with someone who has vision problems to help them with daily tasks! No matter what your availability is, there is always something you can do to give back, even online.

Volunteer by Achieving Your Goals 

If you have a trait or skill that could help others, volunteer your time while also honing your skills! It’s a win-win situation: people will benefit from your awesome talent, and you’ll become even better at what you already do. If you have a job that requires you to pursue education hours, see if you can fulfill these by volunteering your time in your field. This might require you to be a little creative, but it will be well worth it.

Write Letters 

Sometimes, all someone needs is to hear a kind word, even if it’s from a stranger. Consider taking the time to write letters to people, such as those battling an illness, or soldiers overseas. It may only take you a couple of minutes to write a letter, but it may mean the world to someone who hasn’t heard a kind word in a while.

Volunteer Your Time 

If you do have some time to help people in-person, you don’t have to spend a whole day—you can give a couple of hours a day to drive someone in need of an interview. You can spend a couple of hours a day serving as a phone counselor. You can even deliver meals to the elderly who are home bound. You can always go the more traditional route, and volunteer with places like Habitat for Humanity, or at your local soup kitchen.

There are tons of ways you can volunteer your time and resources. It doesn’t have to match a movie-like version of volunteering you have in your head: just about anything you can do that helps another person is considered volunteering! There are opportunities, now more than ever, to help globally via the internet. You can donate your time, gifts, resources, monetary resources—anything you can think of counts.

Wish mom’s around the world (including your own mom) with the first ever Global Mother’s Day Card

 

Mother’s Day is around the corner. Can you believe that? It seems like just yesterday we were filling out Valentine’s Day cards. Now it’s time to start filling out a card for your mom, grandmother, aunt or favorite woman in your life to wish them a very happy Mother’s Day.

I wish my mom was still alive. She passed away 17 years ago. My mother in law soon followed her seven months later. I would give anything to be able to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day in person.

I’m blessed that I still have a step mother. I’m certainly going to wish her a very Happy Mother’s Day. She resides in Florida with my father (we’re in New York).

I miss when my kids were younger and would make me Mother’s Day cards. Those were the sweetest. I still have most of them too.

Somewhere in the chaos of our home is a single Mother’s Day card that I made for my mom when I was little. I THINK it’s in the basement storage, but I’m not 100% sure. I wish I could find it.

Mother’s Day cards are special. This year, Wishyoo and the charity global organization No More, have partnered to make the first ever Global Mother’s Day Card. That’s right – GLOBAL!

Wishyoo is the patented e-card, where all your friends and family can handwrite a personal dedication from their own phone. You can even add photos, doodles, and voice greetings. You can even purchase gifts for someone and share the costs with those you invite to participate. This is such a great idea!

This very special “card” can be signed by everyone in the world. It doesn’t matter if you live in New York, London, Tokyo or even Antarctica. If you have access to the Internet, you can sign this card. You sign it in your very own handwriting too. You can even do little doodles if you wish.

You can check out the Mother’s Day card here – http://bit.ly/2mymother (the link has been shortened).

I signed the card myself. It was easy to do. I simply put in my name (or you can use an alias) to get access to the area where you sign your message. You DO NOT need to enter in any personal information – not even your email.

Here is the message I wrote and my doodles (you don’t have to doodle).

I have Carpal Tunnel, so it’s not easy for me to move my mouse to write neater. I gave it my best shot. I think it turned out OK.

You can change the color of the “ink” you are signing/drawing with on the bottom left of the screen (where it looks like an artist’s paint tray. You can also undo anything you just did with the turned arrow (bottom left) and upload a photo using the camera image, also found on the bottom left.

This card will travel around the world I the coming months, as different countries celebrate their Mother’s Day in different days of the year.

This is a screen shot of a section of the Wishyoo Mother’s Day card.

With your help this global card will get the World Guinness Record for the largest card ever made, which stands now at 40,400 messages or signatures. Wouldn’t it be fun to say you participated in this fun event?

In addition, Wishyoo has partnered with the charitable organization NoMore, to bring you this very special Mother’s Day card. No More is an organization that looks to help prevent and end domestic violence and abuse.

Please share the link with every mother or father you know and contribute to this cause in a fun and educational way that also helps saving millions of trees every year.

Another screen shot of the card showing photos, doodles and special Mother’s Day messages.

What do you think of this fun idea? Will you be taking the time to sign this very special, record breaking, Mother’s Day card?

For more information about Wishyoo, or to create your own e-card, visit Wishyoo.com.

More information about No More, visit NoMore.org.

Be sure to check out the official hashtag #GlobalMothersDay.

Kimberly

*This is a compensated partnership with Wishyoo. Although compensated, the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

3 Amazing Fundraising Ideas You Might Want to Try

 

Giving is the purest forms of love. It means that you are willing to share what you have without anything in return. It’s an altruistic gesture that shows there is still hope in this seemingly hopeless world. Evil festers good and yet good thrives in evil. The world is a crazy place, I know. But it is home.

Seeing you read this article today gives me hope. It seems that I can still put my faith on humanity and people’s innate goodness. In this digital world full of bashing and putting other people down, there exist humans like you who’re willing to help out just causes for all the right reasons. Generosity is not a character solely exhibited by the rich. In fact, there is more meaning in generosity that comes from humble means (read more). A rich man donating $1000 is nothing compared to a poor man donating $1. To the rich man, a thousand dollars are but measly change. To the poor man, a single dollar puts bread on the table. This is why charity is never measured by the amount you spent on giving but the heart you pour while giving.

The world is lucky to have people like you.

Anyhow, if you want to maximize the help you extend to your chosen charity, you don’t have to take it all out of your pocket all the time – especially when you can hardly get by yourself. You can, however, encourage others to participate in your cause and have them contribute through fundraising activities. You give them something, they give you something, and your chosen charity gets the proceeds of the entire event. It’s a win-win for everyone and you get to stay true to your values too.

If you don’t have the slightest idea about fundraising activities, then allow us to spark your creativity. You see, you don’t really have to strategize big time for a fundraising event. The key here is to tap the right people. Send the word out to those who actually care about the event. When you’ve gathered people, who support the same advocacy or charity that you do, everything else will just slowly fall into place. So, the very first step you need to take to host a successful charity event is to connect with the right individuals.

Taking advantage of today’s technology and communication mediums is a good start.

If you’re on social media, you would know that there are different online groups for different factions. Take advantage of these resources. Search for any group or page that stands for your chosen charity. For example, if you’re planning a fundraising event for women cancer patients, you can try tapping “women cancer support groups” or “fight breast cancer pages.” Send the word out to the group admin, tell them about what you’re planning, and invite them to join you for the event. It would be good to send formal letters to businesses and establishments for donations and sponsorship as well.

Now, if you’ve successfully managed to gather a crowd, the next thing to do is to plan for the main event itself. My advice is that you keep things simple; nothing too complicated. The event should have a nice and exciting flow. But you should keep it from being too chaotic or disorganized. Here are amazing fundraising ideas that you can try:

Bake Sales

A bake sale fundraiser is a classic. Girl scouts, elementary schools, and other small institutions host this kind of event all the time. You can invite volunteers to the event and have them bring sweet treats to put up for sale. Your fundraising products can include all sorts of baked goodies from cookies to cupcakes to doughnuts. You can make a rule and say that everything has to be homemade. If you want to make the event feel more personal and meaningful, you can have the charity of your choice participate in the bake sale fundraiser. Going back to our breast cancer patients’ example, you can have breast cancer survivors volunteer for the bake sale. Surely, this will make the event feel more relevant.

Online Giving

Well, it’s 2019 and it’s all about computers nowadays. We thought we’d include a fresh new idea in here as well. Online giving is the new fundraising trend in the internet. If you’ve heard of gofundme.com or other similar websites, you should know that many people engage in online charity events. You can check out more information here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-30/gofundme-will-no-longer-take-a-cut-of-some-donations. In fact, you can reach more donors if you do a fundraising online. There are many online giving tools and software that can help you out. You can do a photo-editing fundraising event, for example. You can gather graphic artists to volunteer for your cause. $5 dollars for every photo edit. Sounds promising, right?

Art Exhibition

Children are natural artists. And if you’re hosting a charity event for an orphanage or child center facility, it would be a great idea to feature all their works in an art exhibit. You can rent out a place (if the owner of the place is supporting your cause, they might even let you use the space for free), ask children from your chosen orphanage to come up with an original piece of work, and display it. You might even get to discover raw talent in the process. To increase proceeds, you can organize an entrance or registration fee. You can also sell postcards of the children’s work. You just have to be creative with how you do things.

I have my own personal “art gallery” at home with photos I have taken over the years, including these.

You Don’t Need To Be Wonder Woman To Make A Difference In The World

 

You don’t need to be Wonder Woman or Superman to make a difference in the world.

You don’t need to wear that star-spangled costume or throw that lasso of truth to thwart the injustices that surround us.

You can make a difference in the world by simply being you.

“But (you ask with a hesitant look on your face), what can I do to make a difference? I’m insignificant. I have no power. I have no authority.”

There is a lot you can do, and you don’t need to be a superhero or in a position of power to do it.

Our world is full of examples of ordinary people who did something remarkable. There are those who devoted their lives to good causes. Mother Teresa spent much of her life to working with the poor, for example, and Cynthia Telles devoted her career to supporting the health of people living in under-served communities. Then there are those people whose one act made a massive difference in the world around them. Rosa Parks, for example, refused to give up her seat on a bus, and with this one act of defiance, she made a huge impact on the civil rights movement. These people did (and in the case of Telles, still do) things that can be considered remarkable. But they are still flesh and blood, just like you.

And think about the people who have made a difference during your walk in life. Were they superheroes? Did they have life-altering powers? Chances are, they were people just like you. It might have been a friend who offered you a listening ear. It might have been a stranger who allowed you to sit down on the bus because you looked tired. It could be anybody who did something, no matter how small the gesture, that made your day a better one. They made a difference in your life, and they didn’t need a superhero mask or a cape to do it.

So, think. What could you do to make a difference? Chances are, you can do more than you ever thought possible.

Take the following as examples.

You could donate something to charity

If your home is in need of a clear out, don’t discard your unwanted or unused items by throwing them in the rubbish bin. Give them to a good cause. You could do as we advocated a short while ago, and bring a smile to the face of a child by donating something to the Toys for Tots program. You could help low-income families by donating food to a local food bank. You might have old clothes that if usable, could go towards helping those people who are homeless. And there will be loads of charity stores near you, so give them your unwanted items so they can be sold to raise funds for something worthy.

You could fund raise for a charity

There are many charities in the world, on both a local and national level, so get in touch with those causes that touch your heart, and find out how you can raise funds on their behalf. They will probably send you promotional materials and sponsor forms, so consider organizing an event to raise awareness. You might spread the word on social media too, and write about the causes you are supporting on your blog if you write one. And within your efforts, be an advocate for the cause. Don’t just raise money, but tell others about the work they are doing. Find out how people can get involved if they want to help. And then consider the next point, as if you or anybody you know has the time, you can make a difference on a very personal level.

You could volunteer for a charity

We fully advocate fundraising and donating your belongings to a charity, but why not do something that brings you face to face with the needs of another? Could you be the person who hands over a basket of groceries at a food bank? Could you be the person who ladles soup into a bowl to help a homeless person? Could you read a story to a sick child lying in a hospital bed? Not only are you actively doing something to help them, but you are also showing your care by being there. A kind word from you and a welcoming smile might be worth just as much (if not more) than the charitable act you are involved in.

Do a kind gesture for somebody today

Charities make a huge difference to the lives of others, but on a more intimate level, you can make a difference to somebody when going about your day. If you see somebody struggling to pay for their groceries, you could offer them the spare change they need to make their purchase. If you have a lonely neighbor or friend, you could pay them a visit and bless their day with your company. As we suggested earlier, you could give up your seat on the bus to somebody more in need of you. And it doesn’t take a lot of effort to smile and say hello to somebody, so offer this kindness to others, as you may have been the only person to have offered them a pleasant greeting all day. Your small and kind gestures could make the world of difference to somebody else, and who knows, what you do could inspire others to pay your kindness forward. Your small gesture could go viral and improve the lives of many other people.

Say something that makes a difference

If you have a friend with low self-esteem, tell them they look beautiful, and/or offer other kind words to raise their spirits. If you see somebody being treated badly by another, speak out on their behalf if it is safe to do so, or share what you have seen with somebody in authority. When you’re at work, and you see somebody struggling to complete a task that you are proficient in, share your wisdom with them to make their lives easier. And call your mum, gather your children together, and bring your partner close, and tell each one of them that you love them. By opening your mouth in kindness to or on behalf of others, you can make a difference in how they are feeling, and that might just make their day a better one.

Go green at home

Let’s think about world-saving for a moment. You don’t have the power to bring about world peace, though your kind gestures and words of love might create a small ripple in the right direction. You can’t eliminate world poverty, but your charitable giving might alleviate a part of it. And you can’t single-handedly eradicate global warming completely, but by going green at home, you can reduce your environmental impact. From using less energy around the home to re-purposing your waste, check out the ideas here to make a difference on both a local and global level. Then educate others to do the same. Start with your family and encourage good habits, and then tell your friends on social media and in person, sharing your eco-ideas to both better their lives and to better the world.

Start a life-changing business

On a very simple level, starting your own business could be life-changing to you. You might then have the means to boost your income and get off a career path that is driving you nutty. But rather than start a business to serve your best interests, you might consider a business venture that will serve the needs of others as well. These social-enterprise ideas will help you do just that, so have a read, and consider what you could do. Of course, you don’t have to follow a route that is predominantly tailored towards a good cause, as you could also use a share of your profits to support community and global needs. And by starting a business, you might also have the means to employ others, and on a philanthropic level, you could offer these jobs to those people who struggle to find work, such as those who are homeless or to the retired who want to return to work.

And so…

Can one person make a difference? After reading our suggestions, you don’t need us to tell you the answer. You could do something today to make a person’s life a better one. A smile, a charitable giving, and the power of your voice are just some of the ways you can make a difference.

So, think. What charities are you interested in? Who do you know on a personal level that could do with a kind word and a shoulder of support today? Where do your strengths lie, and where could they be used to help another? You don’t need to be Wonder Woman to make a difference in the world. By simply being you, go out into the world and do what you can to help another.

You can make a difference!

Help bring a smile to the face of a child simply by saying “Alexa, donate to Toys for Tots”

*I have partnered with Amazon to bring you this information. 

This morning I had a lot of errands to run. I was planning on getting everything done on Saturday, but unfortunatly my plans had to change. In order to make sure I got everything done, I got up early today and put a lot of miles on my car going from place to place.

One of the things I needed to do today was track down a local Toys for Tots collection box. Every year my family donates as many toys as we can to our local Toys for Tots program. Last year there was a donation box located inside our local Police department’s lobby. When I stopped by today there wasn’t a box. Thankfully I was able to locate a drop off location with the help of some friends.

It’s important for us to donate to Toys for Tots. As a parent, I could not imagine my child waking up Christmas morning and not finding a toy under the tree. It breaks my heart knowing that there are children who don’t get any toys, or very few, while their friends and classmates are getting the latest video gaming system, new bikes and the “hot toy” of the season. No child should ever have to experience that.

Amazon is doing something to help make donating toys much easier. All you need is an Amazon Alexa.

The one we own is in the center of the image (tall, place tube).

If you are not familiar with Alexa, it is a device created by Amazon to act as your own personal assistant. There is so much Alexa can do. They are also constantly introducing new skills that you can have you Alexa do, from ordering supplies to playing trivia games. Alexa can even tell you jokes, facts and even have it turn on/off things around your home.

I use our Alexa a lot to play music. These days I have her play holiday music. I also have her play music when I am cleaning to help me feel more motivated.

We also use Alexa to tell us the weather.

Honestly, there is so much Alexa can do. Now Alexa can help you make a donation to Toys for Tots.

Amazon kicked off Giving Tuesday (November 27, 2018) by launching a new, easy way for customers to donate a toy to a child in need. Customers can now donate a toy to Toys for Tots via Alexa by simply saying, “Alexa, donate to Toys for Tots.” This is the first time that customers can donate a product to a charity via voice shopping and better yet, Amazon will be matching customer donations throughout the end of the year – toy for toy – doubling customers’ contributions.

Check out this brief video about the program.

 

How wonderful is that! I love this idea.

Now you can donate to Toys for Tots without having to drive all over town looking for toys to donate, or stand on long lines. You can provide a toy to a child in need simply by uttering six little words – “Alexa, donate to Toys for Tots.”

Once you have alerted Alexa that you want to donate to Toys for Tots, you will get a different response depending on what Alexa you have.

I have seen the Toys for Tot’s “wish list.” Most of the items are under $20. Some of the items on the list include a plush Minnie Mouse, Monopoly, a Nerf football, Fingerlings and LEGO sets.

I love that Amazon is going to double the toy donation by matching all of the donations received by Alexa. Think of the thousands of toys that could get into the hands of children in need.

I know A LOT of people with various versions of Alexa (we have the original Alexa). If every Alexa owner would make just one donation it would make a HUGE difference this holiday season.

I hope that you will consider donating a toy to Toys for Tots, whether it’s through Alexa or in person. If Toys for Tots is not available in your local area, I hope there is a similar program available to you.

For more information about the various Alexa, visit the Alexa product page.

The brand can also be found on social media. Check out the hashtag #DeliveringSmiles to see what others have to say about this program.

Do you own an Amazon Alexa? Are you considering telling your Alexa device “Alexa, donate to Toys for Tots?”

Kimberly

*I am receiving an Amazon Alexa device in exchange for my participation (I also own an Alexa that I purchased on my own). There is no financial compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Celebrate #GivingTuesday and help wipe out childhood cancer with this year’s limited edition Aflac Duck

 

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Did you watch this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? My family did. We always do. It’s a holiday tradition. We wouldn’t miss it for the world, especially seeing Santa arrive at the end of the parade.

My family enjoys the balloons and floats the most. One day we’d love to get down to the city and see them in person. We don’t live far from the city. It’s the getting up super early and standing in the cold for many hours that sort of sidelines any attempts of seeing the parade. One day…

We have several favorites including Spongebob Squarepants, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Peanuts, as well as seeing what new characters are introduced. The Santa float is our all time favorite (of course).

This year marks the 18th year that Aflac insurance has been a part of this holiday tradition. I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials for the funny Alfac duck.

I love the Aflac Duck. He’s funny (and cute!)

Alfac provides policy holders cash benefits, when they get sick or injured. For the past six decades, Alfac insurance policies have given policy holders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not the financial stress. As someone who has had to deal with being out of work due to sickness, this really helps. My husband was out of work for weeks (without pay!) for Shingles.

Aflac has a unique One Day Pay initiative for eligible claims too. That is fast!

Aflac insurance provides products and protection for 50 million people worldwide.

For the past 12 years, Aflac has been recoginized by Ethisphere as one of the Word’s Most Ethical Companies. That is really impressive. In addition, this year (2018), Aflac was also recognized as one of the top 100 Best Companies to Work for in America.

Did you know that they also help support childhood cancer research, treatment and programs? It is done through their charitable organization. You can learn more about their charity by visiting AflacChildhoodCancer.org.

One of the ways that Aflac helps to raise funds is through it’s annual sale of it’s limited edition Aflac Duck plush toy.

2018 Limited Edition Alfac Duck (10″ size)

I have seen the Aflac Duck plush toy in the past. I thought he was super cute and I’ve always wanted one. Yes, I know, I’m an adult. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate cute things.

I was totally unaware that for many years now, Aflac has released a limited edition plush duck toy. One hundreds percent (100%) of the proceeds from the sale of this adorable little duck goes towards their childhood cancer charity. Talk about a win-win situation. You get an adorable plush duck to keep or gift to someone, and much needed funds are given to help fight childhood cancer.

We had a family friend who died from brain cancer when he was only eleven (11) years old. He never got to meet his baby sister. His younger brother, who was in elementary school when he passed away, is now in college. It’s so heartbreaking to know that this amazing young man never got to experience life like his younger siblings will be able to (graduate high school, go to college, get married, start a family…).

When it comes to childhood cancer (or any type of cancer – we’ve lost other relatives to cancer) I will do whatever I can to support such charities.

This year’s duck is is sporting a cute little red hat with a white pom-pom. He’s also wearing a matching red and white scarf with the year “2018” imprinted on it. In his hand… I mean wing… he’s holding a red and white striped candy cane.

The Aflac Duck is available in 6″ and 10″ sizes.

My cute little guy.

I received two 6″ Aflac Ducks (Yeah! My first Aflac Duck!). One duck is for me to keep, the other is for me to give away. I plan on giving the other one to a friend.

This little guy talks too! When you squeeze him he says “Aflac. Aflac. AFLAC!!!!” It’s in the same Aflac Duck voice too. I’ve been driving my husband nuts by constantly squeezing him. LOL! He keeps joking that he’s going to perform a little “surgery” on him to remove his voice box. Ha Ha (He wouldn’t really do it).

If you are interested in purchasing this yearly, limited edition duck, visit the AflacChildhoodCancer.org website and click on the “shop” tab on top. In the shop you’ll find the limited edition holiday duck as well as other non-holiday ducks including fishing duck, doctor duck and birthday duck. They even have a really cute duck pillow.

Today happens to be #GivingTuesday.

Giving Tuesday, often stylized as #GivingTuesday for purposes of hashtag activism, refers to the Tuesday after U.S. Thanksgiving in the United States. It is a movement to create an international day of charitable giving at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season.

Today would be a great day to purchase one of these adorable ducks, especially knowing that 100% of the proceeds goes towards a great charitable cause.

For more information about Aflac visit Aflac.com. The brand can be found on social media. All of their links are found on the bottom of their website.

Please be sure to follow @AflacDuck on social media, as well as the hashtag #DuckPrints.

What do you think about these adorable ducks? Do you think you’ll pick up one for yourself or as a gift?

Kimberly

*I received free product samples (one to keep, one to giveaway) in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.