While Spring break is often a chance for students to relax and travel with friends, an even better way to spend your Spring break is by volunteering throughout your local community. Not only will this decision save you a lot of money, there is no better time to volunteer than while you have a break in your curriculum and have the freedom and time to do so. (Also, it looks amazing on a resume.) Here are 8 easy ways to volunteer and make a difference during your spring break!
Volunteering is an awesome way to be a part of a greater cause while also giving back. It does not have to mean donating large sums of money to a popular charity, or even giving any money at all! Volunteering can be found in many forms. Any act of selflessness and relief to others counts as volunteer work. Even if the act is as easy as collecting canned food items and bringing them to a local food shelter.
Below are 10 easy and inexpensive ideas for volunteering during your Spring break. I hope you seriously consider taking part in some of these activities and giving back to your community and the greater good!
1. Donate Old Books
There are countless places in today’s society where reading materials are deeply appreciated. Not only elementary and middle schools, but high schools and colleges as well are always eager to stock their library selections. Day care centers and after school programs, libraries, churches, doctors offices and hospital waiting rooms, and especially prisons and correctional facilities all value books greatly. (Think the old children’s books your mom keeps in the attic that you haven’t been picked up in years, or those young adult novels you were required to read in high school and completely forgot about.) Really any other reading materials you can get your hands on can be a nice treat for someone else.
2. Send Care Packages to Soldiers
A little act of kindness goes a long way. Something as simple as a care package sent to deployed troops, veterans, or wounded soldiers can make all the difference to someone away from home serving our country. Write a handcrafted thank-you letter and include some food or snacks, (double check as to whether or not homemade food is allowed to send or not). If you are under 18, make sure to sign your letter with your first name only just as a safety precaution. Take a look into Operation Gratitude or Give2TheTroops to learn what to donate and who to send it to.
3. Donate Old Clothes or Household Goods
Take a good look throughout your closets and other storage spaces at home to find those long forgotten items that you’ve outgrown or just don’t use anymore. Anything from outgrown winter coats to a kitchen appliance your family happens to have three of are perfect! If the times are in good condition, give them to your local clothing and goods charity foundations such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or any women’s shelters.
4. Organize a “Sleep-Out”
Coordinate or participate in a sleep out where people can notice you and become attracted to your cause and purpose. Depending on town laws, usually local public schools or town halls are more than willing to let you sleep outside their buildings as an awareness act of experiencing the difficulties that homeless people face every day. These events not only raise awareness for the homeless or at-risk youths, but also raise donations. Covenant House Sleep Out provides online tools to help you plan these events.
5. Volunteer With Animals
Check out your local rescue league, ASPCA chapter, or animal shelter to learn ways in which you can help better the lives and treatment of animals. (Make sure to check out the volunteer requirements, because some places require 18+ volunteers to actually work hands on with the animals).
6. Volunteer at a Homeless Shelter
There are multiple different volunteer options in this case, as there are many different homeless shelters catering to different people’s needs. I would suggest researching the different types of homeless shelters in your area. Some shelters may be specifically for veterans, while others may pertain respectively to battered women suffering domestic abuse, and some are specifically for youths. Usually shelters are most prevalent the closer you travel into the city or metropolises. Even times, there are specific parks or areas in the city where homeless people live, even if it is not technically a “shelter”. Preparing “goody bags” with travel sized toothpastes and shampoos, bars of soap and mouthwash, granola bars, multi-vitamin pills and Tylenol are relatively inexpensive and greatly appreciated.
7. Visiting our Veterans
Actually stepping in to visit at the VA Hospitals is any other way to give back to the people who dedicated their lives to protecting our freedom in the armed forces. Although this is a bit more personal than sending a care package, it could mean the world to a lonely veteran to speak to someone for ten minutes and share a smile together. Feel free to bring a parent or a friend.
8. Donate Slightly Used Bras
Your slightly used bras that you grew out of quickly in your younger years or gently used ones you just don’t wear anymore are invaluable to woman everywhere. Bras can be expensive, especially if they are well made! Many bra and undergarment donations actually send their proceeds to help survivors of human trafficking start their own businesses of selling second hand clothing while they recover and build their new lives.
Are you going to try out any of these easy ways to volunteer during your spring break? Let us know down below!
Featured image: genessehabit.org
Kelsey is a Freshman Computer Science major at Louisiana Tech. She is a member of several on campus organizations and in her free time she enjoys reading, writing and yoga. Keep up with her on Instagram @kel_co and Facebook Kelsey Wilkes.