Easy ways to give your time and give back

We all have a lot to do. Between raising kids, working a job, managing a household and juggling extracurriculars, you probably feel strapped for time (because you are) but you may also feel the urge to give back and make a difference in your community. This is something great to teach your children, too, so they realize they can make a positive impact by simply giving of their time. If you want to volunteer but feel you don’t have the time, fear not. There are plenty of ways to give back without giving up an entire weekend. We rounded up a few ways you and your family can lend a hand in the community.

Help fight hunger. Join The Foodbank, Inc. in fighting hunger right here in our neighborhoods. You and your family can make a difference by stocking shelves, labeling, sorting and packaging food, and helping with administrative tasks and general maintenance. The food bank has multiple shifts available, including 9am to noon on Saturdays.

Another way to serve the community is by lending a hand at one of the Mobile Farmer’s Markets. The Foodbank goes to varies sites in Greene County, Montgomery County and Preble County to give out produce to those in need. The Foodbank is always looking for volunteers to help for about an hour or two to fill out paperwork and pass out food.

Help our furry friends. Are you an animal lover? The Humane Society of Greater Dayton could be a perfect fit for your family to volunteer. You can donate your time by walking dogs, cuddling kittens,, helping out in the office and more. With a wide variety of tasks and flexible scheduling, this is the perfect way to make a difference while having fun with animals, too. To be a volunteer here, you are required to complete a two-hour orientation class.

Spend time with seniors. An easy way your family can give back and make a big impact is to spend time with seniors. That could mean a visit to a local senior center, helping an elderly neighbor grocery shop, or perhaps making holiday cards to deliver to a local nursing home. These simple gestures can go a long way in making someone’s day without taking too much time out of yours.

Offer families comfort. Spend some time at the Ronald McDonald House Charities and you’ll see the rewards of your work immediately. Here you can help with a wide variety of household tasks, from doing yard work to washing windows and restocking supply closets. You can also be on the Dinner on the House team, making and baking meals and desserts on the premises for families staying at the house. A delicious homemade meal is a great way to provide comfort to families.

Give toys…and joy. With the holiday season quickly approaching, many area organizations will be collecting toys. Make this holiday about giving and not just getting. Take your children shopping and let them purchase a toy or two for the Toys for Tots program. Perhaps your church or workplace does an angel tree or adopt a family program. This season, make it a part of your Christmas shopping to shop for someone in need. The whole family can help with selecting gifts, wrapping and delivering them.

Donate. Maybe you don’t have the time to give to any of these organizations. That’s okay. There are still a lot of ways you can make a difference. Spend an hour cleaning out your garage, closets, basement or storage room for items in good condition that aren’t needed anymore. Box them up and take your kids along as you drop off your donations at your local church, the Salvation Army or any of the shelters in town. Clothing, especially coats, hats, and gloves, are needed as cold weather comes to town. Personal care items, toiletries, and cleaning supplies are all welcome donations.

There are many ways you can make a difference right here in your community, no matter how busy you are. In this month of gratitude and giving, hopefully, you can find a way to make giving back part of your routine.