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10 Ways to Celebrate International Day of Charity

On September 5th, people around the globe will be celebrating the International Day of Charity. The United
established the annual event in 2012 to encourage nonprofits and individuals around the world to volunteer and contribute to philanthropic causes.

The date was chosen to honor the death of Mother Teresa, the nun and Nobel Peace Prize winner known for her work with the poor and ill in India and other countries. She died in 1997 at the age of 87.

You don’t necessarily have to dedicate your entire life to good works, as Mother Teresa did, to make a difference. The International Day of Charity 2019 can be the perfect time to give back in whatever way works for you.

Research shows that volunteering is good for you, improving mental and physical health, self-esteem, and happiness. Studies even suggest that it can alleviate depression and help you live longer.

10 Ways You Can Make a Difference

There’s no one way to celebrate on September 5. You can donate your time, your money, your skills, or all of the above. You can volunteer in areas that fit your existing strengths and passions, or you can try something completely new. Here are some ideas for International Day of Charity activities that can have an impact:

1. Feeding the Homeless

Homelessness is on the rise in many parts of the country. The problem is especially acute in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., where skyrocketing rents are making housing less affordable.

You can spend September 5th making sure the homeless don’t go hungry by volunteering at a local soup kitchen , food pantry , or food bank .

2. Cleaning up a Beach or Park

Collecting garbage in a public place, like a beach or park, can be a great way to contribute to your community while staying physically active and getting some fresh air. All you need to do this is a pair of gloves, or perhaps a trash picker tool or some friends to join you.

Another option is to join an organized clean-up event at a beach or a park near you. And cleaning up doesn’t have to stop with natural environments. You can also volunteer by joining an event to pick up garbage along the highway or in your city, or organize your own.

3. Building Homes for the Needy

Whether you’re handy with a hammer or just a beginner, you can volunteer to help build affordable housing for low-income families through organizations like Habitat for Humanity . You have the option to volunteer for just one day in your local community, or you can sign up for a longer trip abroad.

4. Mentoring Children

There are plenty of ways you can give back to the next generation. For example, you can consider volunteering at your local school as a bus assistant or crossing guard, a member of the parent-teacher association, or a tutor.

You can also give art or music lessons in after-school programs or mentor high-school and college students interested in entering your field.

Other options include mentoring a child through a nonprofit program like Big Brothers Big Sisters , or leading kids on trips to the outdoors through programs like Big City Mountaineers , City Kids , and Outdoor Outreach .

5. Brightening the Lives of the Sick or Elderly

A third of American adults between the ages of 50 and 80 report feeling lonely in the past year, according to the 2019 National Poll on Healthy Aging .

You can volunteer with seniors by visiting assisted living facilities and nursing homes, running errands or bringing meals to elderly people in your neighborhood, or volunteering with organizations such as the National Council on Aging or Meals on Wheels .

Likewise, many people who are in the hospital could use some support. Candy stripers may largely be a thing of the past, but there’s plenty of work for volunteers, including working with patients, in the gift shop, or at the front desk.

6. Caring for Animals

Plenty of furry and feathered creatures could use some companionship or assistance as well. Organizations such as The Humane Society of the United States can connect you with volunteer opportunities at local animal shelters or rescue services. You can also help out with groups that serve birds and other wildlife . If you’re willing to make a longer-term commitment, consider fostering or adopting a rescued animal.

7. Spreading Knowledge and Culture

Are you an art or music aficionado? Consider serving as a docent at a local museum, symphony, or opera house.
A history buff? Check out whether you can volunteer as a guide at a local historical landmark. Know a lot about wildlife? Try volunteering at the local zoo or aquarium. Into books? See if you can help out at your local library.

8. Engaging in Random Acts of Kindness

You don’t need to volunteer formally to do good in the world on September 5. Consider being generous in small—or big—ways throughout the day.

You could refill a stranger’s parking meter, buy coffee for the person behind you in line, bake cookies for your colleagues, give your barista a huge tip, or give cash to panhandlers. Science has shown that acts of generosity like these can strengthen your immune system and slow down aging.

9. Donating to the Charity of Your Choice

If you don’t have the time or inclination to volunteer, giving money to causes that matter to you can be a great way to be charitable. The sum you donate doesn’t have to be huge—even a small amount can help support an organization’s mission.

Consider the causes you care about, and look for nonprofits doing meaningful work in those areas.

Before you donate, vet the charities you’re considering to make sure they will use the money well. Websites such as Charity Navigator and GiveWell can help you do your homework.

10. Spreading the Word about Causes That Matter

If you don’t have time to volunteer or money to give away, you can still help an important cause by educating others about it.

You can consider writing an email or letter to friends and family to inform them about an organization making a big impact and why they should consider supporting it.

You can also write posts on social media to urge people to donate. Or you can launch an online fundraiser on Facebook or on platforms like Crowdrise or Mightycause .

Keep Giving with SoFi Checking and Savings®

Your philanthropy doesn’t have to stop when the International Day of Charity is over. If you enjoyed giving to a good cause, SoFi Checking and Savings makes it easy to continue donating by setting up recurring payments to the charity of your choice.

SoFi Checking and Savings® is a checking and savings account.You’ll receive ATM fee reimbursements at 55,000+ ATMs worldwide and there are no account fees (subject to change).

SoFi Checking and Savings combines allows you to earn, save, and spend, all in one place. Learn more about opening a SoFi Checking and Savings checking and savings account today.

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