(credit: shutterstock)

(credit: shutterstock)

Communities are only as strong as those living in them. It may be easier to wait for someone else to pick up the litter on the street or to paint an elderly neighbor’s fence, but being of service to your local community or block is a reward unto itself. This holiday season, look around you. How can you make your corner of the world a better place? Here are some ways to get involved.


Christmas trees and wreaths are often discarded for curbside garbage pickup. Sleuth out the final resting place for the worn-out, dried-up holiday greenery in your local community. If yesterday’s tannenbaum is destined to become landfill, organize a recycling and mulching effort, donating the resulting product to local parks, community gardens or corporate mills where the mulch can be converted into an alternative power source.
End Hunger
Local Boy and Girl Scout troops, as well as schools and places of worship, collect non-perishable food for those who can use a hot meal and an outstretched arm during the holidays. Offer to take a food drive shift in front of the local grocery store or write letters to food companies requesting product donations.
Ring a Doorbell
Not everyone is blessed with an abundance of family or friends. If you suspect that someone on your block or in your parish is going to be alone for the holidays, consider inviting them to join your holiday gathering. If that is not possible, make a point of engaging in friendly and warm conversations with them more often.
Give Blood
Oscar Schindler was quoted as saying, “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.” Give the gift of life by donating blood or by managing a community blood drive during the holidays. Around 34,000 units of red blood cells are used in U.S. hospitals on a daily basis, but blood donations tend to drop during the holidays, even though the need escalates during that time.
Sing On
Organize a holiday song sing-a-long at a local hospital, retirement home or hospice. Have one singer dress up as Santa Claus, complete with a sack filled with small, wrapped presents, such as toiletries or pre-approved, yummy treats. Consider folding a play or puppet show into the festivities, and end the day with brief holiday wishes at each bedside.


Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.


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