Is your new year’s resolution to give back to your community more in 2022? Well, here is a way you can give back each month of the new year.
Extremely important, a blood donation can help someone injured in an accident, fighting a chronic disease or undergoing cancer treatments, as well as others. In fact, one donation can save up to three lives, according to the American Red Cross. Austin has multiple locations where you can donate blood, including three We Are Blood and two American Red Cross locations. Additionally, there are mobile centers throughout Austin where you can give blood.
February is Kindness Month, so celebrate accordingly by showering your neighbors with simple acts of kindness. Not only will you strengthen your relationship with your neighbor, you could have a lasting impact by doing something as simple as helping them carry their groceries in from the car.
March, which is designated National Reading Month in honor of Dr. Suess’ birthday, is the perfect time to volunteer with Inside Books Project (IBP). As an Austin-based volunteer organization, IBP sends free educational materials and books to incarcerated individuals in Texas as a way to promote reading among prisoners and educate the public on issues that surround incarceration. As a volunteer, you will open letters from inmates with requests, select books that best fit with their preferences and then package the books to be sent back to the inmate.
Every single April, Keep Austin Beautiful organizes hundreds of volunteers for one incredible day to serve the community. By encouraging volunteers to remove litter from their favorite spots and providing free cleanup kits, they were able to remove 23,580 pounds of trash in 2021.
Save the date! Keep Austin Beautiful Day is happening Saturday, April 9 of 2022.
Farmers markets provide great opportunities to support local farmers and small businesses in your community. Additionally, it is a great place to meet up with your friends or make new ones. With an abundance of farmers markets in Austin, you could visit a new one each weekend. Shop locally at Boggy Creek Farm, Barton Creek Farmers Market, SFC Farmers Market Downtown or Sunset Valley, Lone Star Farmers Market, and Texas Farmers Market.
Planning on getting a new summer hairdo? Consider cutting off 10 or more inches of your hair and donate your old ponytail to Locks for Love, a nonprofit aimed at returning “a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss.” They do this by creating high-quality hair prosthetics using donated ponytails. Ask your salon if they can help you donate to Locks for Love, or use the hair donation form on their website.
Since 2010, Austin has been a no-kill city and is currently the largest no-kill city in the U.S. Austin Pets Alive! supported this initiative from the beginning. They have a lot of volunteer opportunities that range from fostering to helping out at their thrift stores to walking dogs.
Founded in 2018, AUSTIN YES supplies students of selected Title 1 elementary schools in Austin and the surrounding area with a free school supply kit. According to their website, every school supply kit has the following items in it: “colored pencils, crayons, notebook paper, spiral notebook, big eraser, glue stick, folders with pockets, folders with pockets and brads, a ruler, pencils, ballpoint pens in black and red, and a box of tissues.” You can donate on the website, and a donation of just $25 will provide free school supplies for four students.
Since September is Hunger Action Month, contribute to helping those experiencing food insecurity by organizing a food drive at work, your book club, within your neighborhood or anywhere in your community. Hope Food Pantry has been providing free groceries for families in Travis County since 2000. They accept all shelf-stable items that are unopened. If you don’t have time to organize a drive, you can always contribute to one or drop off donations at Hope Food Pantry directly.
Seeking to enrich the lives of seniors in a way that promotes dignity and independent living, Meals on Wheels Central Texas is one of the largest meal-delivery organizations in Texas. Volunteer opportunities range from delivering meals to providing grocery shopping assistance, and they all allow you to make valued connections with some of the seniors in the Austin community.
The Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot is a beloved Thanksgiving Day Austin tradition that started in 1991. The 5-mile run or 1-mile walk benefits Caritas of Austin, a nonprofit with a mission to end homelessness in Austin. The event has raised over $4.2 million for Caritas of Austin in its 30 years.
Help bring joy to less fortunate children this holiday season with Toys for Tots. Drop off new, unwrapped toys at one of the many collection sites in Austin. Around Christmas, the toys will be distributed to children in need. By donating a toy, you are allowing Santa to pay more children a visit this Christmas since the success of the program depends on the generosity of the community.