Giving Back, Helping Others

by Emma Zang-Schwartzå

Everyone knows that helping others is a good thing, but sometimes you may want to do more than donate money. Here are ways you can get involved and make a difference.
GO SHOPPING

Yes, you read that right, shopping.  Buying just about anything these days can actually count as doing something good.  For example, with every pair of TOMs shoes, www.toms.com, purchased, another is given to a child in need. When you buy a pair of Warby Parker glasses, www.warbyparker.com, a donation is made to one of their nonprofit partners that will cover the cost of a pair of glasses for someone in need. For every product purchased from Hand in Hand, www.handinhandsoap.com they’ll donate a bar of soap and a month of clean water to a child in need. For every watch WeWOOD sells, www.we-wood.com, they plant a tree. So far, they’ve planted nearly half a million trees across the globe and they hope to reach their goal of 1 million trees by 2020. There are also companies out there that give a percentage of their sales or provide services because of your purchase. These products range from coffee and toothbrushes to yoga pants and handbags.

CLEAN HOUSE

Need a little push to clean out your garage or closet? Not only will you able to actually see what’s on the shelves, but you will be helping people to have a better life and serving the environment. Consider Goodwill which through its career centers, helped over 44,000 people get jobs in Arizona in 2017 and kept over 100 million pounds of “stuff” from going to the landfill. Visit www.goodwillaz.org. Even think about clearing out your kitchen and donating food items to local food pantries. Saint Mary’s Food Bank, www.firstfoodbank.org, feeds families throughout Phoenix and 13 Arizona counties. Many charities will come and pick up the items.

HAVE A HOBBY

Nobody ever said charity work shouldn’t be fun. Whether you like running, knitting, cooking or the internet, there are plenty of ways to have those activities make a difference. Sign up for a 5K run or a golf tournament and get sponsors. If you like knitting, www.ProjectLinus.org needs blankets for children in need. There are even online games that turn your scores into something that matters. Check out www.freerice.com where, for each correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated through the World Food Programme to help end hunger.

MENTOR A CHILD

Remember that person growing up who was just the coolest and made everything seem easy and look fun?  Be that person for someone else. An afternoon can change a child’s life and maybe your own too.  Maybe you always wished you had a sibling, or now miss having a kid in your life as your own is grown and starting their own lives.  No matter what the reason, becoming a mentor is a wonderful way to get involved.  It’s usually a long-term commitment, but it is something that leaves a lasting impression.  Local organizations such as the Child Crisis Center www.childcrisiscemter.org can use your help. Or, pass on the joy of giving to your children through HandsOn, www.handonphoenix.org. This nonprofit has children helping other children.

DONATE YOURSELF

Literally, a piece of yourself. Donating blood saves lives.  In fact, one pint of blood can help save up to three lives.  For donation centers, visit www.redcrossblood.org Connect with If the thought of needles puts you off or you are unable to donate, there are other ways to help.  Sign up to be an organ donor through the Arizona Department of Transportation when you update your driver’s license.  Or, consider growing out your hair, cutting it to a shorter style and then donating it to an organization, like www.locksoflove.org that makes wigs for children with an illness that causes them to lose their hair.