Simple, meaningful ways to give back to your community

With today’s busy and distracted lifestyles, it can be difficult to find ways to make a difference to those less fortunate in the community. However, today it is simpler than ever to give back, and you do not have to alter your hectic routine to make an impact.

1) Give back while you shop

If you want to make a difference with your shopping dollars, look for retailers that give a percentage of their profits to those in need.

For example, Walgreens gives 1% of sales from participating vitamin products to nonprofit Vitamin Angels. Through this partnership, undernourished pregnant women and children under 5 receive life-changing nutrients to combat the devastating effects of malnutrition. When customers purchase, they support Vitamin Angels’ mission to improve child and maternal health in the U.S. and around the world. The partnership has already reached more than 200 million children and mothers throughout the U.S. and worldwide with essential vitamins and minerals. To learn more, visit www.walgreens.com/vitaminangels.

Many retailers and grocery stores also provide shoppers the opportunity to donate to causes when they are at the checkout register. With just a couple of extra clicks, you can opt to add a small contribution to your total bill to provide resources to a worthy cause.

2) Give while you work up a sweat

You can get exercise and support a cause you care about at the same time. Several apps on the market allow you to donate to your charity of choice for every mile you walk, run or bike — the miles can even add up as you carry your phone around all day. All you have to do is download an app, create an account, select your favorite charity and get moving.

You can also join organized walks and runs that suit all fitness levels to support your cause. Turn it into a social event by rallying friends, coworkers and family members to join you, or ask them to sponsor you (and cheer you on) for each mile completed.

3) Give back while you de-clutter

Next time you join in on the Marie Kondo craze to clear out your closets, consider sparking even more joy by donating gently used items to a local nonprofit. Clothing and goods you no longer use can be life-changing for those in need. Check before you donate to make sure your charity of choice needs your donations. Some organizations will even come to your home at no charge, making it even easier to give back.

4) Give your time

With crammed schedules, it can seem like a big commitment to volunteer, but today’s nonprofits offer flexible arrangements. Most nonprofits welcome any level of assistance, even one-­time engagements or a couple of hours a month. Contact a local nonprofit you are interested in to ask about volunteering opportunities. Some employers will even allow you to use PTO (paid time off) for volunteering, so it’s worth asking your employer’s HR department.

Making a difference with your dollars or giving your time can feel great, and it can also be effortless. Find a way to make a difference that works for you — and then go for it! Even small actions can make a huge impact to your community.

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