Done in a Day

Easy ways to give back

We all have a lot to do. Between raising kids, working a job, managing a household and juggling extracurriculars, you probably feel strapped for time (because you are), while at the same time you may also feel the urge to give back and make a difference in your community. If you want to volunteer, but feel you don’t have the time, fear not. There are plenty of ways to give back without giving up an entire weekend. We rounded up a few ways you and your family can lend a hand in the community.

Help fight hunger. Join the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank in feeding the hungry right here in our neighborhoods. You and your family can make a difference by stocking shelves, labeling, sorting and packaging food, and helping with administrative tasks and general maintenance. The food bank has multiple shifts available, including 9am to noon on Saturdays.

Another way to serve the community is by lending a hand at one of Food For Thought’s Mobile Food Pantries. The nonprofit is always in need of volunteers to help operate these food pantries, which offer emergency food assistance to people in need. The food pantries allow them to choose from a variety of items, including fresh produce. 

Help our furry friends. Are you an animal lover? The Toledo Area Humane Society could be a perfect fit for your family to volunteer. You can donate your time by walking dogs, cuddling kittens, working in the ReTail shop, helping out in the office and more. With a wide variety of tasks and flexible scheduling, this is the perfect way to make a difference while having fun with animals, too.

Spend time with seniors. An easy way to find a lot of volunteer opportunities under one roof is to help out at the Sylvania Senior Center. The center is always looking for extra hands to help with a multitude of activities and events, so there is sure to be something appealing to everyone in your family. You and yours can lend a hand in the dining room by preparing and cleaning up meals. Perhaps you’d like to work outdoors and maintain a plot in the organic garden and assist with the planning and planting of the flower garden. If you’re tech savvy, help out as a computer coach and ensure students are keeping pace with the teacher. 

Offer families comfort. Spend some time at the Ronald McDonald House Charities and you’ll see the rewards of your work immediately. Here you can help with a wide variety of household tasks, from doing yard work to washing windows and restocking supply closets. You can also be on the Dinner on the House team, making and baking meals and desserts on the premises for families staying at the house. A delicious homemade meal is a great way to provide comfort to families.

Give toys…and joy. With the holiday season quickly approaching, many area organizations will be collecting toys. Make this holiday about giving and not just getting. Take your children shopping and let them purchase a toy or two for the Toys for Tots program. Perhaps your church or work place does an angel tree or adopt a family program. This season, make it a part of your Christmas shopping to shop for someone in need.The whole family can help with selecting gifts, wrapping and delivering them.

Donate. Perhaps you don’t have the time to give to any of these organizations. That’s okay. There are still a lot of ways you can make a difference. Spend an hour cleaning out your garage, closets, basement or storage room for items in good condition that aren’t needed anymore. Box them up and take your kids along as you drop off your donations at your local church, the Salvation Army or any of the shelters in town. Clothing, especially coats, hats and gloves, are needed as cold weather comes to town. Personal care items, toiletries and cleaning supplies are all welcome donations.

There are many ways you can make a difference right here in your community, no matter how busy you are. In this month of gratitude and giving, hopefully you can find a way to make giving back part of your routine.