START TAKING INITIATIVE, SPARKING CHANGE AND CELEBRATING LIFE. YOU ARE THE CHANGE THAT YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR. By Ella Miller
During so many instances in my life I’ve heard people said things like, “They need to figure out a way to feed the hungry”... “They need to find a way to get housing for the homeless”... “They need to come up with ways to help the aging in our country.” And the list of what “they” need to do builds and builds.
Who should be accountable for making the world a better place is a hot topic these days. I became even more intrigued with this notion when a friend was telling me how the government needs to find a way to feed hungry children in our country. According to the foundation Feeding America, due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 54 million people here in American experience food insecurity and 18 million of them are children (2020 statistic).
So, let’s think about that for a moment... what WOULD it take for our government to truly feed all of the hungry children in this country? It would entail an enormous collaboration of food contributors and farmers, processing centers, distributions points, delivery crews, community leaders and more to orchestrate such a valuable, magnificent feat. And as much as my heart leaps with joy at the thought, the reality is that we’re a long ways away from that happening. And even if a plan was instated, it would take a long time to get up and running. Then I wondered what are we waiting for? There is no better time than now to focus on an issue and start doing something to change it.
Let me use the example of feeding the hungry to help articulate what steps we can take
to move this mission in the right direction RIGHT NOW:
• Donate canned goods on a regular basis to a community food pantry
• Volunteer time and effort to pack produce into bags at a local food distribution center
• Plate food for families at local food kitchens or churches
• Deliver food to elderly individuals who are struggling to make ends meet
• Make sandwiches for homeless individuals encountered during your day-to-day travels (for
instance, in bus/train/commuter stations)
We’ve all heard the term “strength in numbers” in reference to the power that many people have when they unite their focus. So, imagine what incredible solutions we can create by banning together and all doing one small thing each week to improve a situation such as hunger, homelessness, global warming or the myriad of other issues humanity faces every day. Collectively, those small actions can create a big impact.
It begins with shifting our thinking from “they” need to do something about the issue to “we” need to do something. It’s about being the change we seek in this world. Here are ideas on what we can be doing to make change happen now:
• Join a community committee and work to help it achieve its mission
• Fundraise for a good cause
• Donate time and energy to organizations and causes that you are passionate about — saving the environment, domestic abuse shelters, animal shelters, kids’ safety, neighborhood watch programs, national hotlines, and more
• Connect people with similar passions in your local area so they can synergize and work together to reach humanitarian goals
• Tell your co-workers and friends about how good it feels to give back and invite them to join you in your volunteerism
If you can’t help physically, then help those who CAN by donating to a worthwhile charity on a regular basis (if you're able). Go to charitynavigator.org to see if a charity is legitimate. There you can see how the group scores financially, its accountability, transparency, mission and what percentage of donations go toward the intended purpose. You can select charities that have an excellent 4-star rating. You can also read about groups that have different degrees of caution warnings – such as some veteran groups – due to their extremely high administration costs.
In the end, change calls for solving problems... and you don’t have to wait for government organizations to get the ball rolling. Sparking change in your community is about taking initiative, respecting diversity, celebrating life, and being a source of positivity in our world — all adding to creating a fulfilling human experience for you as well as for those you’re serving. YOU are the change that you’ve been waiting for!