There was a woman who did all kinds of wonderful things. She gathered quilts and supplies and traveled to another country to help those who were suffering. As she made the trek to return the many, many miles back home, she felt an impression that sank deep into her heart. The impression was this: “What you have done is a very good thing. Now go home, walk across the street, and serve your neighbor!”
This week, our focus through #LIGHTtheWORLD is to Light our Community.
Sometimes, it’s easier to make an anonymous donation or send something off to a blessed soul whose face you’ve never seen. And yet, there is so much need, so much suffering all around us. It may take a little more courage or a little more time, but the joy that we will feel as we witness happiness spreading across the face of another—that will make any sacrifice worth it.
All around us, there are needs. Some needs are so large that the families experiencing them can’t see how they will find their way out. Some needs are so small that a simple smile would make all the difference. If we are willing to look, we will see that all around us there are situations where a person might think “someone should do something!”
Then comes the beautiful answer: you and I are each someone! We can be the one who goes and does. We can be the Savior’s hands. We can comfort those in need of comfort.
There is no criteria we have to meet to make a difference. We can be any age, within any income, and any level of education. All that is needed is a willingness to do.
Here are 12 ideas for Lighting Your Community:
- Make Care Bags. Fill bags with useful items that a homeless person could use, such as gloves, soap, protein bars, hand warmers, and fresh socks. Pile everything into gallon-sized Ziploc bags and keep them in your car. When you come to a corner and see someone holding a sign, you can hand them one of your Care Bags! (We like to leave a little note inside, too).
- Volunteer at your local community food bank or shelter. Leavenworth has a wonderful food bank called Helping Hands. They’ve allowed our whole family to volunteer—even our ten-year-old helped by “pricing” canned goods.
- Help with Meals on Wheels or Mobile Meals of Wenatchee. Bring meals to elderly people who can’t get out or drive themselves. They would love the company!
- Get to know your actual neighbors. You could invite them over for dinner or games.
- Pick a family and be their “Secret Elf.” Deliver treats and needed items throughout the month. (Make sure you’re ready to run when you ring the doorbell so they don’t find out who you are!)
- Babysit for Haven for Hope. This organization helps women while they study or work on resumes or go on an interview.
- Pay it forward. Pay for the groceries, food, or hot chocolate of the person behind you in line.
- Leave water and snacks for your Mail, UPS, or FedEx guy or gal.
- Visit the lonely. Bring dinner or lunch and your company. The most incredible example I’ve seen of this are two sisters, 6 and 10 years old, who go and visit their “friend,” who just happen to be eight or nine decades their senior.
- Send an actual letter. Taking the time to send some snail mail tells someone how much they mean to you.
- Go to JustServe.org. There are many local opportunities are available to you!
- Treat every single person you encounter like they are going through something. The checker in the checkout line, the bank teller, or the driver who is not driving quite as politely as you’d like like—fifty percent of the time, you’ll be right!
This is just the beginning… What would you add?