Dare to Care

Posted on by Jeanie Lindsay. This entry was posted in Volunteerism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Caring comes naturally with a lot of important people in your life, like your family and old friends, but what about the random person walking down the street?

You probably do care about that random person, but inviting a stranger into your house for a meal might be a little too far out of your comfort zone, or just logistically inconvenient. Showing how you care isn’t always easy (or within your comfort zone at all), so we’re daring you to care this week with some simpler ways to do it.

1.Make/buy that person a sandwich.

If you live in Seattle, you are very aware of the homeless community that grew by 19 percent in the last year. If you see a person standing outside of the store or on the sidewalk near your house, take a minute to grab that person a snack. You’ve heard of random acts of kindness where people buy coffee for the person behind them in line, or pay for that other family’s drive-thru order, so why not do the same for folks on the street? Just say hello, tell them you want to give them a sandwich, and use that food to care for a new friend.

2. Help somebody move.

You have seen this person on Facebook, begging all of their friends to help move heavy stuff into their new upstairs apartment. I have been this person. You have been this person. We have all been this person. Moving is stressful! So, if you have some extra time, help your buddy pack a box and settle into their new place. Not only will you get to use all of that new muscle you’ve been building, but you’ll feel great about being there for your friend, and it could inspire more friends to do the same. You might end up helping someone that you don’t usually see often, or making life exceptionally easier for the person whose other friend bailed last minute. Not to mention, when the time comes for your next big move, you’ll have a network of helpers already excited to assist.

3. Pick something up.

Nobody likes litter, so take the extra seconds and make the street you’re walking down look even better than it did before you got there. Of course, it isn’t a requirement for you to pick up everything on the street, and if the stuff on the ground is too gross to grab, that’s OK. But when you do end up tossing that runaway gum wrapper or crumpled paper into the trash, someone could see you do it and follow your cleanly lead. You’ll feel good, your street will look great, and you might even get thanked for it by someone passing by.

4. Give clothes, money, and more.

If none of these have clicked with you yet, you can always donate! Set aside money to give to a new cause each month, or one that you already know you love. Your money, your rules — but imagine how cool it would be to know that some of the money you earn goes to clothing kids who can’t afford it, or restoring wildlife habitats. If donating money or clothes isn’t your thing, giving blood is awesome, too. You are literally donating life to someone. How much better does it get than that?!

Speaking of giving, there’s a Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington airline miles drive coming up! Help kids with life-threatening medical conditions get to their wish destinations by donating your unused airline miles, and share the link with your friends so they can help us reach our goal, too.

5. Get involved with your interests.

Attending events is the best way to get to know new people and places. Who knows, you might start going to a weekly book club, and then end up hosting it! It can be intimidating to start out volunteering somewhere new right off the bat, so if you know what you’re into, start doing it for fun. Then, volunteering for that group you love will be even more meaningful, and you’ll be a pro at it.

Take time to find a place where you feel like you’ll have the most impact, and if you don’t want to commit to something for six months, set a goal to start simply. Try volunteering a few days of the year, and gradually build up the time you spend with those activities or organizations. You’ll end up somewhere you love with new people, investing in something you care about. If you’re ready to get started, join us at FareStart and help prepare hundreds of meals that will be delivered to emergency and transitional housing facilities around Seattle. There’s no need to have cooking experience, so visit the registration page for more details, and see you there!

Can’t make it to FareStart on the days we’ll be there? No problem: Explore our new private Volunteer page on Facebook! See what other folks around UW care about, and invite others to giving events. Join in to show how much you care for your community — including that random person you see walking down the street.