I just came across an excellent blog – Marc and Angel Hack Life. A recent article there, by Angel, was entitled ’60 Selfless Ways to Pay It Forward’, and in the light of several recent posts here on Paying It Forward, I thought it worth sharing with you. I am reproducing here it in its entirety. I would also highly recommend visiting their website for other gems.
Even after all this time,
the sun never says to the earth, “You owe me!”
Look what happens with a love like that,
it lights up the whole sky.
Selflessness is the sincere concern for the well being of others. It’s about love. It’s about compassion. It’s about kindness and faith. It’s about making a difference in the world. Sure, you are only one, but you are one. You cannot do everything, but you can do something. Smile and enjoy the fact that you have the ability to make a difference – one you’ll likely remember forever.
So go ahead and make the words, “How can I help?” part of your everyday vocabulary. Start today; choose one of these 60 selfless ways to pay it forward.
- Hold the door open for the person behind you.
- Introduce yourself. Make new colleagues, classmates, etc. feel welcome.
- Clean out all your old clothes and donate them to someone in need. Your old is someone else’s new.
- Write a positive Yelp review about a local business you like.
- Listen intently to people’s stories without trying to fix everything.
- Donate blood. One pint of blood can save up to three lives. Locate your nearest blood drive.
- Volunteer at a hospital, homeless shelter, nursing home, etc. Get outsideof yourself and help others. Check out Volunteer Match.
- Buy house warming gifts for new neighbors.
- Inspire others online.
- Share your umbrella with a stranger on a rainy day.
- Check up on someone who looks lonely.
- Let someone with only a few items cut you in line at the grocery store.
- Spread good news.
- Replace what you’ve used. For example, fill up the copier or printer with paper after you’re done using it or start a fresh batch of coffee.
- Give words of encouragement to someone about their dreams, no matter how big or small they are.
- Stop and buy a drink from a kid’s lemonade stand.
- Help someone get your parking space in a crowded parking lot when you’re leaving.
- Babysit for couples or single parents who don’t get out much so they can have some alone time.
- Look for ways to save a few extra bucks a month and then donate it to a good cause or charity.
- Shop at your local charity thrift store. The money you spend there helps others.
- Help someone get active. There’s a coworker or acquaintance in your life who wants to get healthy, but needs a helping hand. Offer to go walking or running together or join a gym together. Check out your local Activeactivities.
- Spend a few clicks of your time at Free Rice.
- If someone you love really likes something (a meal, a favor, etc.) give it to them when they least expect it.
- Make a difference in the life of a child. Give them your time and undivided attention. Read Raising Kids Who Will Make a Difference.
- If you shop online, make your purchase through Give Back America.
- Pay for the person in line behind you.
- Drop off your old eye glasses at your local LensCrafters as a donation to the OneSight program.
- Create a care package and send it to an active duty military unit.
- Redirect gifts. Instead of having people give you birthday and holiday gifts, ask them to donate gifts or money to a good cause.
- The next time you see someone pulled over with a flat tire, or in need of assistance, stop and ask how you can help. Read How to Be an Everyday Philanthropist.
- Become a mentor or tutor to someone in need.
- Help the weary shopper in front of you who needs that extra two or three cents to avoid breaking a 20-dollar bill.
- Come to the rescue. If you realize someone is sick, bring them some hot tea, soup, etc.
- Be a courteous driver. Let people merge in front of you.
- Put some change in an expired parking meter (where it’s legal).
- Offer your seat to someone when there aren’t any left.
- Listen to someone’s pain and help them find a path through it.
- Hug a friend. Let them know how important they are.
- Think twice before you throw something away. As Jack Johnson once said, “Reduce, reuse, and recycle.”
- Help an entrepreneur with a Kiva donation.
- Bake cookies or brownies and share with a neighbor or colleagues.
- If you have a good book you’ve read that’s just sitting around on a book shelf, give it away to a friend.
- Become a member of Freecycle, and participate.
- Clean up litter in a park or open space nearby.
- Look into co-housing.
- Borrow and lend things in your neighborhood by using Share Some Sugar.
- Send a nice email or handwritten card to someone you know, unexpectedly.
- Leave encouraging post-it notes in library books and other random places.
- If you see a couple taking a self-pic, offer to take the picture for them.
- Setup a donation box at your school, work or place of worship and ask others to make canned/dried food contributions. Then deliver the donations accordingly.
- Join efforts to preserve and protect the environment.
- Donate cat and dog food to an animal shelter. Call and ask what is needed.
- Compliment someone who deserves it.
- If there’s been an accident or a potentially hazardous situation presents itself on the road, report it to the local authorities. Your phone call could save a life.
- Collect and donate prom dresses for underprivileged youth. Check out the Princess Project.
- When you’re getting fast food, buy an extra meal for a homeless person.
- Stand up for someone. Lend your voice. Often the powerless, the homeless, the neglected in our world need someone to speak up for them.
- Take the time to teach someone a skill you know.
- Teach others how to make a difference in this world by setting a good example every day. Read 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life.
- When someone wants to repay you for something, ask them to pay it forward.
On Sunday 5th June, 2011, nearly two million people took part in the Eden Project’s ‘Big Lunch’. The aim of the annual event, inaugurated in 2009, is to get as many people as possible across the UK having lunch with their neighbours in a spirit of community, friendship and fun.
This year the event falls on the 3rd of June and coincides with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, so it has been renamed The Big Jubilee Lunch and Buckingham Palace has included it as part of the official programme of events.
Record numbers of people are expected to attend, with activities ranging from just a few neighbours getting together in streets or gardens, to full-blown street parties, with food, banners and music. Anyone interested in participating should visit the event’s website at http://www.thebiglunch.com.
In a recent letter to the editor of Montgomery News an elementary school teacher, Jacilyn Charles of Erdenheim, told how astounded she was by a stranger’s generosity. Philanthropy doesn’t always hit the headlines, but it’s common, everyday kindnesses such as this that make all the difference. I’ll let Ms Charles tell her story…
The second grade at Erdenheim Elementary School decided to do a service project as part of a social studies unit about Africa. Families sent in a variety of school supplies to be sent to a school for orphans in Malawi. We then hosted a bake sale to raise money to ship the 11 boxes of supplies. The outpouring of support for both phases of our service project was astounding.
The second-grade families sent in wonderful supplies, and we raised roughly $1,400 to pay for shipping. With boxes costing between $70 and $250 each to ship, we knew we would need over $1,000 to pay for postage.
On Feb. 11, my husband and I went to the Glenside post office with the boxes and the money we raised. In case we were short, we set aside two boxes that we would give to a local charity. As we kept an eye on the running total, we soon realized we would not have enough money for those last two boxes.
We mentioned this to the postman who was helping us. A woman in the next line casually struck up a conversation with us. She asked what we were sending and we told her about the generosity of the second-grade families who sent in school supplies, as well as the kindness of the rest of the school community who supported our bake sale. We told her about the orphans in Malawi who would be getting all of these supplies.
She then asked how short we were on cash. Two hundred dollars, I told her. She then promptly reached into her wallet and handed me $200 in cash on the spot. She said that she had a brother from Kenya and our story pulled on her heartstrings. She knew that the children receiving these gifts desperately needed them, and she was glad to help us send them over.
Wow. I was so completely overwhelmed by her extreme generosity that I choked up. I was fumbling over my words and could only sputter “Thank you” a few times before she left. I didn’t even get her name.
There really are some amazing people in this world. Thank you to the kind stranger at the post office. I can assure you I will pay it forward.
Yesterday I mentioned the phone app that allows food donors to link up with distribution agencies providing meals for the poor. This kind of distribution goes on, of course, in many countries, and I thought it would be good to give a quick mention, today, to one that is very local to where I live – Wales, UK.
This January the Welsh food redistribution charity FareShare Cymru celebrated the official opening of its Cardiff depot – although it actually began operating as long ago as last July. The parent organisation, FareShare, has been operating in England and Scotland since 2004. In 2009/10, food redistributed by FareShare contributed towards more than 6.7 million meals and every day an average of 29,000 people benefit from the service.
Surplus and waste (but edible) food from manufacturing and retail industries is redistributed by the organisation to charities and community groups, who pass it on, in turn, to disadvantaged people across the country, thus addressing two major issues at the same time – food waste, and food poverty. FareShare Cymru says that more than 37,866 tonnes of waste from food and drink manufacturers in Wales was dumped in landfill in 2007: they aim to tackle this issue. Their motto is ‘No Good Food Should Be Wasted’.
Funding for the new depot was provided by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Here’s a great new app for iPhone and Android phones in Israel.
Leket – Israel’s National Food Bank – recycles more than 9.592 million kilograms of produce, hot meals and perishables from restaurants, event halls, supermarkets and other businesses each year and distributes it daily to more than 270 charities nationwide.
Leket’s new phone app, available free of charge, in both Hebrew and English versions, will enable users to locate nearby charities so they can donate their surplus food. It includes information about Leket, as well as a link to its website, and provides an interactive map of the country, so those looking to donate leftover food from an event or a conference can search for the charity closest to them. It will also soon be possible for a user to type in their zip code in order to locate the nearest agency.