If you’re set on making the world a better place, start smaller. Positive changes you can make to support basic needs in your community can have ripple effects. August Napoli, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Cleveland, offers three ways to help.
Donate clothes or money.
Greater Cleveland’s unemployment rate hit 17.3% in May. While the region’s economy has recovered somewhat, 10.4% are still without a job, meaning this winter could be tougher on more people. Clothing donations like shoes, boots, coats and socks, which are always in need, will be especially in demand says Napoli. And he points out that even small donations of money can go a long way. “The truth is, it will make a big difference,” he says. “Don’t underestimate the power of the collective.”
Volunteer your time.
Volunteering can come in a lot of different forms. While spots such as the Greater Cleveland Food Bank welcome volunteers, and have social distancing practices in place to make it safe, Napoli says there are small ways to do some good with your time without leaving home. Try writing letters to retirement community and nursing home residents who have been isolated from their families due to the pandemic. “You don’t have to have any particular skill,” Napoli says, “You just have to have love in your heart.”
Research organizations you want to support.
No matter what bit of good you’re doing, make sure it pays off by researching the organizations you support. In addition to investigating if COVID-19 precautions are in place where you volunteer, Napoli advises looking at the Charity Navigator or GuideStar to see where your donations are going. “[Make sure] that 85 cents of every $1 goes to the service directly,” Napoli says. “We’re working very hard to get [as much of] that dollar into the hands of people who need it.”
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