At any given moment, someone in the world is lonely, hungry, homeless, ill, tired or overwhelmed. The needs of the world seem to be endless, but so are the possibilities in how you can respond to those needs. And whether it’s an hour, a day, or a longer-term commitment, your support matters.
In this article, we’re sharing our favorite ways to lend a hand.
A little inspiration can go a long way
At Stearns Bank, our founder Norm Skalicky knew the value of helping others. Through his philanthropy, Norm made the world a better place. He inspired a culture of giving by the way he lived. That’s why, as part of the benefits package at Stearns Bank, every employee is given 32 paid volunteer hours to share their time and talent with those in need.
Our team gives their all while they are at work, truly living our Mission, Vision, and Values – when they are volunteering, the same dedication applies.
And, while social distancing and other challenges have been faced since the onset of the pandemic, our team persevered in making a difference wherever possible, sharing over 2,000 volunteer hours with their communities in 2021.
From serving on boards, committees and fire and rescue departments to spending time in schools, donating blood and building homes, giving back looked different to everyone.
Here are some of our team’s favorite ways to give back, make a difference and create more possibilities within community organizations and local businesses. Of course, always keep health and safety in mind and follow specific protocols set for opportunities.
- Build a house. Many hands make light work and when it comes to sharing your time with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, which helps families build and improve places to call home, you’ll be amazed at the magnificent outcome.
- Ring a bell. There’s just something special about the bells rung by volunteers of the Salvation Army each holiday season. The sound is a symbol of community, generosity and the pure joy in sharing, not only during the holiday season, but year-round.
- Declutter. It feels good to let go of things you no longer need. And, lightening your own load can make a huge difference to someone in need. Clothing, furniture and other household items are needed and appreciated – search your local collection sites (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.) and share your gently used or new items.
- Show up. Being present for community outreach opportunities makes an impact and inspires those around you to do the same. Here are some quick ways to “show up” for others: serve at a soup kitchen, join a faith group-based effort, support food shelf programs, attend a benefit dinner, help at an animal shelter, assist at a homeless or women’s shelter or visit with nursing home residents.
- Let your experience shine. Organizations such as SCORE can connect you with a variety of opportunities to support local entrepreneurs, network, help grow your local small business community and expand your skillset. These are excellent ways to share your unique background and experience while supporting others.
- Head back to school. Our nation’s schools are in dire need of support and every moment you spend with a student is priceless in their education and life. Be a reading buddy, an extra set of eyes and hands in the classroom, take on recess duty, organize or clean, help students with their studies, and so much more.
- Clean up. If you’ve noticed garbage strewn in the ditch on your way to work or the weeds taking over the local playground, go ahead and do something about it. Gather a group or go solo with a garbage bag and a can-do attitude. Commitments like Adopt-A-Highway are a great state-led effort to explore. Help our Earth and make that drive or playtime much more enjoyable.
- Save a life. Donating blood is truly a life saver. The American Red Cross is in constant need of blood donations. If you’re unable to give blood, consider other ways to support the organization that also provides disaster relief, lifesaving training efforts and more.
- Complete tasks that are too big for others. Have you noticed a neighbor struggling to do yard work or carry their groceries? Step in and offer a hand. You can keep them safe, brighten their day and get to know them a little better.
- Be a mentor. Share a listening ear, sound advice, talent and encouragement with others. Big Brothers Big Sisters has plenty of opportunities for you to change to life of a child in a big way by developing positive, meaningful relationships.
We hope you’ll join us in these and the endless other possible ways to respond to the needs of others. And, we hope that if you’re in need, you receive the support you’re in need of. From friends and family to perfect strangers, we need each other to live well and be at our best.