January 31, 2020
Giving back to the community is important, and we should all strive to give back throughout the year. Donating clothes and volunteering can truly make a positive impact. If you are a regular when it comes to giving back, or someone who is balancing to fit it into your schedule, you can make simple adjustments to give back this year!
Now that the holiday chaos is dying down and you are back in a normal routine, you might find yourself having more free time. Take this time to go through old clothes that you or your kids haven’t worn in months and create a donation pile. Although it can be difficult to part ways with a “favorite” item, remember that it can help someone else in need.
Keep an eye out for winter coats, hats or scarfs that are in good condition, as these are great items to donate during this time of year. Once you have your donation pile ready, research local community organizations such as Mission of Deeds, Bread of Life, Trinity Episcopal Church’s Thrift Shop, Savers, and others in the area. Many local elementary schools offer drop off bins for textiles which benefit the PTOs (Parent Teacher Organizations). The City of Melrose also offers curbside pickup for textiles and household goods which are resold to thrift outlets or recycled.
If you are new to volunteering, reaching out to local organizations can seem intimating. When choosing where you want to get involved, first consider what is important to you. Although volunteering at any organization is positive, finding one with a mission that aligns with your values can make volunteering more meaningful. For example, if you love animals, volunteer at a local animal shelter. If you enjoy learning about life from those who have wisdom and experience, volunteer to read to the elderly at a nearby nursing home. Whatever mission you feel most connected to, try to find an organization that inspires you.
Setting time aside can be difficult, but you can begin by creating a “volunteer calendar” with the days you are available to give back. Mark your calendar at least once a month with a few hours, whether it’s for donating clothes or your time. A “giving back” calendar is a great way to keep yourself and your family committed and accountable throughout the year.
If you want to make it a priority to donate money to an organization in need, start by putting $5 or $10 aside every paycheck. This small amount can help make a huge difference for an organization. Then, at the end of the year, you’ll have enough money saved to be able to make a significant donation to the organization of your choice.
Volunteering with friends or a group of people can make getting involved less overwhelming, and more fun! See if you can get involved with your work, friends, or even your local community bank. Many community banks make it a focus to give back regularly. Melrose Bank, for instance, is an active member of the community and regularly gives back to organizations in and around Melrose.
You can also follow your community bank and other organizations on social media to stay up to date on upcoming community events that are taking place. Teaming up with other people such as co-workers, family, and friends can help to make volunteering and donating a regular activity. Remember that it only takes one person or organization to make a significant difference within a community, so why wait!
James Oosterman is Senior Vice President at Melrose Bank. He can be reached by telephone at 781-665-2500.