14 Giveback Opportunities To Share The Love This Valentine's Day
Man, is Valentine’s Day not the best day EVER?! I have always really enjoyed the holiday, welcoming chocolates and flowers and special dinners with open arms. Sure, some singles find it bitter and sad (LOL your choice), but I think a day designed to share love is a day to be celebrated.
One of the best ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to share love within your community. Sure, Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to see spikes in charitable donations and volunteer time, but these hearts of service are equally important in February, as well.
With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 14 opportunities you can take to love someone this Valentine’s Day. Whether your day includes a romantic dinner and roses, or a solo movie and takeout, everyone can make an impact.
I participated in Dressember this last December (and did not freeze, thank you very much), and have so much love for the organization. While December is the biggest month for physical participation, the organization spends all 12-months of the year fighting human trafficking across the globe.
The Ronald McDonald House provides an amazing service to families who have a child with an illness. By housing the family at no charge, The Ronald McDonald House allows families to stay together for little to no cost, while keeping them close to the medical facility the child needs.
There are 367 Ronald McDonald Houses, so chances are high there’s one near you! If so, they have volunteer opportunities for groups of any size.
It breaks my heart whenever I see a homeless man or woman with a sign labeled “vet.” After sacrificing their time, comfort, and often health for the sake of our freedoms, these men and women deserve our support.
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans’ goal is to get vets off the street and into safe spaces that assist them in rebuilding a healthy, safe life for themselves.
If there’s one group of people that we can all agree need some love, it’s children in foster care. The Foster Care system is big, in dire need of people who want to make these kids’ lives better. While not everyone can be a foster parent, everyone can help foster kiddos. Together We Rise is an organization that does just that. The organization is made up of former foster kids, walking through the system with current foster children. They work with hundreds of local organizations, all while showing these kids how loved and valued they are.
While you and I may not think twice about opening our front door when we get home, there are others who do not have a place to call their own. Habitat For Humanity strives to change that, providing houses to families who can call them home.
Habitat has a variety of volunteer opportunities - someone has to build those houses! Look for local opportunities near you.
One of the most powerful ways to serve someone is to provide them with a basic necessity. Feed My Starving Children does that in packing and delivering meals to children who do not receive the daily nutrition they need to grow up “to be big and strong.”
Spending an hour or two packing meals may not sound like a big deal to you, but that lunch directly impacts a child’s life and wellbeing. Find your local volunteer opportunities here.
Anyone with a loved one in the service knows that the sacrifice is a family affair. Wounded Warriors Family Support is designed to help keep families financially afloat while their serviceman or woman is undergoing whatever medical treatments are necessary. This keeps the family together, protected, and ultimately continues to honor and respect the selflessness show by the men and women who serve the United States.
Strong girls empower other girls, and that’s exactly what the Girl Scouts organization teaches. Not only do they provide us with the perfect midnight snack (team Thin Mint…and Tagalong…) but they help little girls grow up to be leaders, advocates, and world-changers.
Yes, you can still buy Girl Scout cookies this season. Maybe your munching will encourage you to lead a troop?
Every year, 3.5 million people die because of a water-related disease. Clean drinking water is not just a nice charity vision - it’s life or death. Planet Water strives to bring clean water to remote parts of the world, teaching them how to filter their water so that the issue has a long-term solution.
One of the greatest setbacks for women’s equality in the world today comes from a lack of literacy and education. This is a very real example of “knowledge is power” - in this case, knowledge assists freedom. Room to Read partners with local schools in communities around the world, providing them with literacy programs. They also train teachers and librarians, distribute books, and collaborate with local governments to make sure the children they reach - two thirds of which are girls - are able to advance their education.
Most of these are organizations can be benefited by both your time and your money. Some of them may require more of a commitment if you’re volunteering, but Valentine’s Day is a great way to kickstart a season of giving back. Here are four more ways you may be able to love on your community.
11. Mentor a student
Nothing says “you are loved” quite like quality time. Partner with your local school and see if there is an opportunity to mentor a student. Maybe they need help with math homework (don’t we all?) or maybe they just need someone to show them that they are valued.
12. Serve dinner at a local food back or shelter
Serving someone else a meal is an opportunity to provide them with something that physically helps them. Most of these service opportunities also allow you to eat with the people you serve, giving you the chance to say hi and make a new friend.
13. Spend time at an assisted living home
Volunteering at an assisted living home may sound like you’re the one doing all the helping, but trust me when I say that you will gain just as much, if not more, from your new, senior friends. Sit, listen to their stories, do a puzzle, eat a pudding cup…many people in these homes don’t have a lot of visitors and you’ll soon become a favorite.
14. Look at your neighbors and see how you can best serve them where they are
We all need a little more love, don’t we? Look at the people around you and be specific in your service - maybe one gal needs a Starbucks card while one couple would love someone to babysit their kids so they can have date night. Look for how you can love on others - your heart will be bursting just as much as the ones receiving your gift.
Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! May your day be overflowing with love and happiness.