Superheroes saving the world have dominated the box office in recent years. It’s not hard to figure out why; people love seeing heroes overcome dire situations or huge challenges. But, as they say, not all heroes wear capes, and the most important lionhearts are often the folks simply striving to better their communities. And if you want to make a difference, strengthening your local community is a wonderful way to do just that.
Hurricanes, tornadoes, pandemics, economic crises, and substance abuse crises are just a few of the many storms humanity has weathered over time. And we will no doubt face more challenges in the months and years ahead. This is why a strong and resilient community is so important. A vibrant community can support people through tough times, mitigate dangers, and enable more prosperous futures for those who live in it. Thus, the question we all should think about asking is, “How can I strengthen my community?”
Donate High Demand, High Need Goods
Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) provide resources to those in need. Often, local organizations are in the best position to determine how resources best get to where they are needed most. Since the challenges faced by various communities will tend to be different, it is wise to donate to local organizations that are in tune with local circumstances.
If you have items that are no longer being put to good use, you can give them a second life by donating them. If you are not sure what to donate or what is needed, get in touch with NGOs in your area and ask them. Even if you don’t make any immediate donations, this information will help you better plan for making donations in the future.
Donate Your Time and Positive Energy
A little effort can go a long way. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people were struggling to access water, food, medicines, and various other necessities. Organizations across the United States and around the world stepped up to provide goods and services to those in need. Many of these aid centers were made possible because volunteers were willing to donate their time and energy—whether it was setting up temporary, drive-through donation zones, or directly volunteering to gather and distribute goods.
Volunteering in your local community can provide many benefits for local residents and also for you, the volunteer. Giving time offers a great way to get out of the house. You can meet new people, expand your understanding of local issues, and perhaps find a new sense of purpose in life.
When most people hear the word “donation,” they think of money—or the donation of physical goods. However, in practice, giving your time, energy, and compassion can make just as big of an impact, if not more so, than physical or financial donations. And, if you aren’t feeling flush yourself, volunteering allows you to improve the lives of others without straining your finances.
Learn Local Issues and Put Knowledge to Work
If you ask someone to pontificate about politics, there’s a good chance their thoughts will first drift to the US President, Congress, the various state governors, state assemblies, and the like. Federal and state institutions are vital, but community issues often wield a bigger influence on people’s lives than state and national issues do.
By educating yourself on the key local topics, you put yourself in a much better position to contribute. Knowledge makes you a more productive citizen and community member. And you may well discover that there are issues you care deeply about and want to work on, personally. You may feel the need to improve area crosswalks, or join a local school board, or run for city council, or raise awareness regarding pollution. The possibilities for local involvement are virtually endless.
It has been said that knowledge is power, and that’s certainly true. But, when leveraged by caring and passionate community members, knowledge can also become a force for positive change. If you’re ready to get involved but aren’t quite sure where you should start, consider contacting Jewish Family Service. Our team can connect you with the resources you need to start strengthening your community. Give us a call at 513-469-1188 or visit our website to get started.
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