By: Nick Thomas, www.unitedway.org
Spring is finally here, a time when flowers bloom, daylight lasts longer and the smell of freshly cut grass lingers in the air—unless you live in the northeast, where snow is blanketing the streets and smothering dreams of warmer days ahead. Whether you’re outdoors soaking in the sun, or inside staying warm, it’s time to start thinking about spring cleaning. This year, consider adding community impact to your list of things to do. Here are four ways you can give back through your spring-cleaning routine:
Change lives by cleaning out your closet: According to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report, there are more than 500,000 homeless people in America. When it’s time to conduct your spring cleaning, peruse your wardrobe—or your child’s—and see if there’s anything that can be donated to your local thrift store. An old sweater or pair of shoes may not be useful to you, but it could mean the world to someone in need.
Put your elbow grease to greater use: Have a slew of chores you need to tackle? When you’ve finished fixing the stairs and spreading the mulch, flex your muscles for the greater good—call your local United Way and ask if there are any community-building projects in the area. Around this time of year, building homes and creating community gardens is common. By volunteering your time, you can help house a family or rebuild a low-income community in disrepair.
Be mindful of your water usage: When you’re watering your lawn or plants, it’s easy to get carried away or forget to turn off the faucet. Today, in celebration of World Water Day, do your part by saving water when you can. From checking your pipes, faucets and toilets for leaks, to turning off the bathroom faucet when you're brushing your teeth, you can help tackle local water shortages and contribute to a water-saving culture. Every drop helps.
Rethink your spring break: Switch up your family vacation this spring. Instead of trekking to the beach, head over to a local food bank and lend a helping hand. Food banks are always looking for volunteers to help with packing meals, sorting non-perishables and providing nutritious meals to those individuals experiencing homelessness or hunger. Not only will you be helping others in their time of need, but you’ll be teaching your kids the importance of volunteerism.