Support a good cause that fits your budget and your busy schedule, too.
We all know that it’s better to give than to receive, and at the holidays it often hits home just how many people are hurting. But now is also when time and money tend to be in short supply. Still, there are many ways to lend a helping hand that don’t require deep pockets or an empty calendar. Here are actions you can take now and continue throughout the year, organized by how much—or little—cash and time you have to spend.
If you have...
$0: Don’t assume that you need to write a check to support a worthy cause. Gently used books, computers, eyeglasses and coats can all find a good home elsewhere. One good option: Donate old sneakers to Soles4Souls, which collects new and used shoes and clothing from individuals, schools, faith-based institutions, civic organizations and corporate partners and distributes them to people in need across the United States and elsewhere. Visit souls4soles.org to learn more.
$3–$5: Malaria kills 1 million people every year, 70 percent of them children, and the most effective way to combat the preventable disease is with a tentlike net used to cover beds and sleeping areas. What’s more, each one of the nets costs just $3 to $5, which you can pledge by visiting againstmalaria.org.
$10: Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that provides sustenance to more than 46 million people, including an estimated 12 million children. A $10 contribution provides 100 meals to those who might otherwise go without. Check out help.feedingamerica.org to donate and to find out other (free) ways you can help end hunger in America.
$20: Looking for a chance to help in your own backyard for $20 or less? Consider this idea from a couple in Tacoma, Wash.: Put together a backpack filled with items a homeless person might appreciate, including a hat, a scarf, toiletries and nonperishable food items. The trick is to scour dollar stores and thrift shops to find what’s essential for not much money. Once you’ve assembled your kit, stash it in your car for easy access. For more, watch the video.