Sunday 19 January 2014

Not So #RandomActsofKindness & Giving That Lasts All Year #GivingBack

Extending the Season:
Giving Back All Year Long

In November I wrote a post about easy inexpensive or free ways to give, or pay it forward during the Holiday season. For most of us the holidays are a time of giving, or "Tis the Season" and we are looking for ways to give, and give back. 

Lately I've been thinking a lot about why the season isn't all year round. 
I'm wondering what small not so random acts of kindness can be done on a regular basis throughout the year. It's been my experience that the giver, gets as much if not more in return than the receiver, and wouldn't it be nice to feel the joy of giving all year long. I'm not talking about huge life altering actions, but rather a plan to include and schedule small acts of charity and kindness into our busy everyday lives. Like everything else (eg. exercise, projects, appointments) it is much more likely we will actually do an activity, follow up, and follow through if it is scheduled into our plans, and not left to chance. 

Why not schedule in a few of these ideas into your life, and make the "Season" of giving last all year long. 
  • Donate gently used clothing to a local shelter or mission so it can be distributed to the homeless and those in need. In the colder months jackets, hats, gloves, socks, boots, blankets, sleeping bags,  knapsacks, and dufflebags are so appreciated. 
  • Donate gently used clothes, toys and books to a women's shelter. The coffee and the tea from the hotel room and hotel toiletries are also perfect for someone that is in temporary accommodations.
  • Baby clothes and items can be donated to teen mother organizations and homes. They are always very much appreciated. Remember certain items like car seats have expiry dates and are generally not accepted.
  • Donate gently used children's snowsuits, hats, mitts, and boots to a Snowsuit Fund or Snowsuit collection in your area. Canadian winters are cold, and no child should go without a warm jacket.
  • Collect the small bottles of shampoo, soap and toiletries from hotel stays, and/or the toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss you get from your dentist. Donate them to a shelter or to a food bank. Sort the items into into small ziplock bags for easy distribution.
  • Children's book your kids no longer use can be donated to a school library. School libraries get very little by way of budgets to buy new or to replace books. Your donations can go a long way. Same goes for magazine subscriptions; Chirp, Chickadee, Skateboarding and Snowboarding Magazines, Popular Science and Mechanic and Canadian Geographic are all popular with students even if they are a year or two old. 
  • Adult novels can be donated to nursing homes or shelters. Or if you know someone who can't get out, drop a box of books to them. Reading helps to combat loneliness, as does the act of kindness.
  • If you are donating canned foods to a food drive or food bank, make a list, watch for sales and, use coupons to increase your donation. You can often double the donation by smart purchasing, and who doesn't love a deal! 
  • Give the gift of time. Volunteer in your neighbourhood, a local school, church, seniors home, or charity.
  • Offer to put up or take down Christmas lights up for a senior, or if they no longer drive offer to take them grocery shopping, or to an appointment.
  • Bake some cookies or treats and deliver them to someone who has mobility issues and doesn't get out.
  • Shovel the snow for someone! Especially a senior, or a Mom with small kids or baby that can't easily get out.
  • In the Spring, offer to take someone to buy some flowers for their garden, and help them plant them. For someone with mobility problems, making their home special is special!
  • Mentor someone: share your skills, talents, and expertise. Help with a resume. Practice interview skills. Tutor a student. Teach a senior to use the Internet, Email, or Skype. Being connected can make all the difference in ones life.
  • Babysit or Seniorsit and give a tired, overworked caregiver a break. A couple of hours can be so important to managing stress and coping.
There you go! A bunch of ideas for giving that cost so little but mean so much. 
If you have ideas that might be added to the list, or experiences of your small "not so" random acts of kindness, please share them with me in the comment season. I would love to hear about it!

Yep, just Cathy thinking out loud about not so random acts of kindness.


  1. Lots of good suggestions here! I think sometimes even very little acts of kindness can make a different. Even something like a smile to someone who really needs it.

  2. Someone once gave me a quarter. A Quarter. 25 Cents. It changed my life forever.

    I think it's so fabulous that you're posted about this. There is so much that people can do and it doesn't need to involve money. And, you never know when your gesture will mean so much more to someone else. Here's to Christmas being every day!

    Besos, Sarah