2020 has been a crazy and unpredictable year, to say the least. The entire world has completely changed, and a lot of it has been out of our control. With the pandemic and the political climate of our country, there has been a significant uprise in activism, spreading awareness, and becoming more involved in the community. And whether you are "political" or not, it is always important to contribute to society's betterment, whatever that means to you. So, given all of the craziness that 2020 has been, I think everyone can agree that we want to make a change for the better. Here are 8 easy ways to do so.
1. Register to Vote
If you are eligible to vote, I recommend that you register ASAP. Even though it may seem like voting won't change anything, it will. Educate yourself and research the candidates' stances/beliefs on diplomatic policies that affect your city, state, and country. If we want our government to improve and better represent the people, we have to vote.
Different Ways to Vote:
Vote by Mail
Vote Early in Person
Vote at the Polls
For more info, check out these websites:
2. Sign petitions
Change.org has over 1,000 petitions that you can sign to help contribute to different issues that you are passionate about. It’s very easy to navigate, and with a few clicks, you can significantly impact the world. Some of the trending topics include:
Climate Change/Environmental Issues
Saving the USPS
Additional petition websites:
3. Buy a meal for a homeless person
If you’re going to a fast-food restaurant like Chick-Fil-A or McDonalds, buying an extra meal for a homeless person is uncostly and straightforward. If you feel uncomfortable or are unable to give money to a homeless person, food is the next best option. Some people refrain from feeding the homeless because it can be inconvenient, but this minimal “inconvenience” can save lives. Buying one extra meal can provide for another person who is actually starving. Think about this. It’s worth the extra work, time, and money to help someone else, especially someone who really needs it.
4. Start a supply drive:
Contact an organization you want to work with and ask them what supplies are in shortage. You can reach out to friends and family to raise awareness for the organization and create a supply drive based on their needs.
Possible donations to collect:
Blankets & Linens
5. Beach Clean Up
Grab some friends or family and organize a beach clean up at your local beach. If you want to keep it more lowkey, next time you go to the beach, take a trash bag and pick up trash you find while walking. Trust me; there's a lot more trash in the sand and the seaweed than you would expect. This simple act can save the lives of millions of animals and significantly help the environment.
6. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We all know this phrase since Kindergarten, and guess what? It still applies to every one of us in the world today. You can incorporate the three simple steps in your everyday routine with ease. Here's how:
Use less disposable goods (paper, styrofoam, plastic materials)
Donate old electronics (computers, tablets, phones, iPods, etc.)
Donate used goods to places such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.
Buy thrift clothing more often
Use a reusable water bottle over a plastic water bottle
Recycle your trash at home
Use natural light over electric light if possible
Turn off electronics if not being used
Volunteering is one of the easiest ways to make a difference. In many cases, schools require community service hours, so volunteering is a win, win; you get your service hour requirements and contribute to your community, which in the end makes you feel good. Research different organizations near you that would be a good fit for your interests and community involvement. Contact multiple organizations that address community issues you are passionate about and see what works best for you. Volunteering your time, effort, and skills are very easy and make a positive impact all around.
Ways to Volunteer:
Volunteer at your local school/church
Volunteer at a Senior Citizen Home/Center
Volunteer at a hospital
Volunteer at a park
Organize a yard sale/supply drive for an organization
Tutor students in different subjects
Teach/promote art to young students
Facilitate student activities/sports for impoverished kids and teenagers (Ex: soccer, basketball, football, dance, arts and crafts, storytime, yoga/meditation)
Serve meals in a food pantry
DIY care package for a specific organization (Can include: non-perishable food, water, hygiene products, toiletries, reusable bag, small first aid kit, etc.)
DIY face masks and donate to a charity of your choice
8. Be cautious of your transportation choices
In some places, alternative transportation is not practical because it's time-consuming. For example, living in Miami, driving is almost always the first option/choice for transportation because it's much harder to get around without a car in a big city. However, we should still find ways to make it work. Instead of driving to your local gym, park, grocery store, or even your friend's/family members house, you could walk, run, bike, skate, etc. depending on the distance. You could also use these other transportation methods as an exercise to intensify your workout while helping the environment. If none of this is possible, you could even carpool to save gas and reduce our carbon footprint.
9. Donate Blood
Although donating blood can be scary, it makes a difference. According to the American Red Cross, donating 1 unit of blood can save up to 3 lives. Think about that: 1 donation = 3 lives; that's a big deal, especially once it starts to add up. There are some personal benefits when donating blood, especially during the current Covid-19 pandemic. If you have recovered from Covid-19, please donate blood. The plasma in your blood is urgently needed because it contains the antibodies for Covid-19, which is extremely useful when treating sick patients. You can also donate blood to find out if you ever had Covid-19 since many people were/are asymptomatic (have no symptoms) when positive for Covid-19. And the last fun benefit is that you will find out your blood type when you donate blood. I still don't know mine because I never donated my blood, which I still regret today.
Side Story: I chickened out the first time I attempted to donate blood. The girl before me was about to donate blood and fainted on me, and I thought, "Hell no, I'm not doing this." But, she was perfectly fine, and the team assisted her immediately, making sure that she was taken care of and doing well. The strange thing is that she passed out before donating blood because she was nervous, and it had nothing to do with donating blood, but I was still kind of traumatized. Since then, I've gotten over it, and I've wanted to donate blood to have the experience and help people in need. Even though that was an unusual incident, I encourage you to donate blood if you can.