This year as the holidays approach I have decided on a New Years' Resolution, and actually started it last week. I have decided that every time I go grocery shopping, I am buying one extra non-perishable food item. These extra food items will be stashed in a Rubbermaid container and brought to the Food Bank once a month. I go grocery shopping about once a week, so this ties up between $1 and $5 a week, depending on whether I am buying beans or canned fruit, granola, rice, juice or even nuts which have a long shelf life. I'm basically giving up a pack of gum, a coffee or a McDonald's hashbrown (my secret weakness) every week. So by helping to feed others, I'm actually making myself healthier as well ;)
I think most of us live paycheque to paycheque, and recognize how few life changes it can take to be the one in need of services like the food bank. Especially if you don't feel you have time to volunteer, or don't feel you can ever afford to donate a lump sum to charity, this is a great way to help your community without feeling the strain. If you have kids, involving them in picking out an item to donate is a great way to help them recognize the value of helping others, and to make them feel as though they're making a positive difference to someone else and that their actions matter. Honestly, who of us couldn't use that kind of validation on a weekly basis?
I've created a Community Involvement page to track my donations, 1) To keep myself accountable for continuing this throughout the next year. And 2) To create an inspiration page of budget-friendly donate-able items. Let me know what you and your family do throughout the year for others in your community, perhaps I can implement some of them in my own life!