Written by Spotloan

The holiday season not only brings families together, it also sparks a time to give back to the community. However, if you are on a tight budget, you may be wondering how giving back can still be possible. The good news is there are ways to take part in this time of goodwill that may not require any money out of your pocket.

Join a Cleanup Crew

If you have not ever joined a cleanup crew, then you may not know how easy it is to locate one. Many state parks and forest preserves have groups of local volunteers that meet weekly or monthly to help maintain the park or perform other maintenance duties. To join one of these groups, you can try a search on Facebook or reach out to the park directly. Many times, the park will provide you with the equipment you need. But, you'll want to make sure you have a thick pair of gloves, trash bags, and maybe even some trash grabbers. Helping to keep the parks and roadways free of trash is a great way to give back to your community.

Volunteer at Your Local Food Pantry

During the chillier months, food pantries typically need more help. A food pantry is different from a soup kitchen. As in, they may not provide hot meals to clients, but instead provide clients with groceries to bring back to their homes and families. This is because those that are suffering with poverty or homelessness will need more to eat to sustain themselves. Due to this influx, you will be able to find many volunteer opportunities at your local food pantries. While you may not be directly interacting with those you are being served, you may help in other ways. This could include helping a guest check-in, providing additional resources, stocking shelves, or taking inventory counts.

Build a Little Free Library

A Little Free Library is a box placed outside a home or business that allows anyone to take a book from inside and is a great way for giving back to your community. People can also choose to leave a book for others to take. This will help to promote reading in your local area and could aid in bringing your community together by providing this free resource. Any kinds of books can be inside and many choose to have separate sections for children's books. However, you may want to initially stock the library with some books to get it started. You will also need to initially pay for a wooden box to put the books in. Before you begin building your Little Free Library, you will want to check with the city you live in to check the building codes.

Donate Winter Clothes

Winter clothes are one of the most sought after items for those that are in need. This is especially true for those that are struggling with homelessness. The items they typically need  include socks, hats, scarves, boots, and coats. You remember that one coat you bought five years ago and haven't worn once? It might be time to donate it to someone in need! You may choose to bag up the clothes and drop them off at a thrift shop. However, you could also contact the local shelters in your area and donate the items they are in need of directly.

Help a Non-profit

Non-profits operate exactly as they sound, whereas no part of the income they generate is distributed within the organization. Non-profits help to strengthen communities and provide valuable resources. For example, non-profits in your area might include animal shelters, rescue organizations, homelessness initiatives, and housing resources. A quick internet search can help you locate the non-profits in your area. These organizations are generally always looking for volunteers and you can volunteer your time doing a wide range of different tasks.

Spotloan: A Smarter Way to Borrow

Spotloan believes in the power of strengthening communities by giving back and showing support. Our team members understand the unique challenges that individuals can face in their everyday lives, as well as extenuating and emergency situations that can arise. We are equipped in helping our clients discover individualized lending solutions that work within their budget. The application process is easy, simple, and can be done quickly online. Fill out the Spotloan application today to see if you qualify!