Thursday, November 20, 2008

Can I Make A Difference?

Yes, I can! The holidays are fast approaching, and there is such anticipation, including all the blog giveaways (cookbook, Refresh'n Dryer Towel, and the awesome giveaways at 5 Minutes for Mom, to name a few), I thought it would be a good time to reflect on ways that we can make a difference in someone's life. Even if it's only a small difference, I know there are things we can do that matter.1. Volunteer your time at a soup kitchen. Most major cities have "soup kitchens" where homeless men and women and their families are served a hot meal, maybe their only hot meal for that day. I'm proud that my husband volunteers at Loaves and Fishes once a month. If he could get the time off work, I think he would do it more often. His employer doesn't pay him for it or reimburse him any expenses. He does it because he wants to. Maybe your city has a soup kitchen, food bank, or clothing dispursement cetner that could use some extrea volunteers during the holiday season. It's also a great experience for teenagers about "giving back" to the community.

2. Speaking of clothing dispursement.... You know those clothes you've recently cleaned out of the closets in hopes of getting new ones for Christmas? Instead of saving them for a garage sale, how about donating some to a local community organization or church who can give them to someone in need. Here in Texas, we still have thousands of Hurricane Ike victims who were displaced, and they are still in need of clothing and household items.

3. And speaking of the food bank... How about "Dropping in for Dinner?" Kroger stores have pre-made bags that can be purchased, dropped in their collection can, and sent to restock the food bank. You could always drive a bag of groceries over there yourself.

4. Smile at someone. Yep. This one's simple. That can make a big difference in someone's day, and perhaps in their life, depending on the events going on in their lives that we don't know about. A stranger smiles at me and it feels good. I'm validated as a human being.

5. Let someone go before you in line. We are all in a hurry! The woman in line with the two children is in a hurry. The man in line buying a single rose is in a hurry. The older gentleman in line may be in a hurry to get back to his wife. Why not let someone go before you? It'll make their day!

6. Carry some bottled water in your car. The next time you see someone on the street corner, possibly selling roses or newspapers, possibly homeless and in need, hand them a water to enjoy. You've just made a difference in that person's life.

7. Samaritan's Purse is an organization that sponsors Operation Christmas Child. OCC brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes and the Good News of God’s love. People of all ages can be involved in this simple, hands-on missions project. National Collection Week is November 17-24.

8. Mentor a child, a niece, a nephew, a child in your neighborhood. This takes little time and creates a lasting impression. How do you mentor? You show you care. Ask about the child's grades. Ask if they need help with homework. Offer an ear to listen to them. Read with them. Easy and free, and it makes a world of difference!

9. Many churches sponsor Angel Tree Prison Fellowship programs, and this is one in which I have personal experience with, and I can attest to the fact that it changes lives. We "adopted" children whose fathers and/or mothers were in prison, and we not only took gifts to them (gifts donated by members of our church), but we also ministered to them so they could become aware of the love of God and know that someone else cared about them. If you visit the site, you can see there are many ways to become involved, regardless of how much time or money you have to donate.

10. Our church sponsors a global mission in Malawi, Africa; one in Budapest, Hungary; and one in Uganda, Africa. Prayers are a great way to support these global missions, and if your finances allow, they are run by charitable donations. Many churches sponsor global missions, so if this area touches your heart, check with your congregation. My heart is touch by the mission in Malawi because that is where a member of our congregation set up a clean, sterile, birthing clinic many years ago.

11. Invite someone lonely to a meal. Most of us have extra food at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Would it hurt to invite a non-family member to dine with us? Someone who's spouse recently passed, a college student who can't go home for the holidays, anyone who has no where to go to enjoy the celebrations of the season.

12. We can all make a difference, big or small! Want to know the biggest way you can make a difference? Teach your children well. They are the most important resource we have. So I will leave you with a song.


  1. All great ideas!!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. When I was a kid we always went to the house of a friend who invited anyone he ran across that didn't have somewhere else to go for Thanksgiving. There were usually from 20 to 50 people there. It was always a good time. So far, I haven't been able for find people for it myself, but I'd love to do that.

  3. Right now, I am volunteering to ring the bell for Salvation Army. I am also volunteering at a humane society and a nursing home. I haven't found a church I like up here yet. Actually, I never found a church like the one in Vista. I miss it.

  4. A beautiful and most excellent Thursday Thirteen post! We should all do as many of these things as we can!

  5. Wonderful and caring ideas!

    At our school, I am the one who stands out in the heat, cold, rain, snow (hee) doing the car rider dismissal. Just the other day, one of the parents gave me a bottle of water. Just a simple gesture but it means so much.

  6. lovely ideas! You are absolutely right--these small gestures can mean so much.

  7. That is a very good list!

    I'm glad to say all our unwanted clothes go to charity thrift shops. And books too.

  8. this was THE best TT ever! such beautiful ideas.
    and that is one of my fav. CSN tunes.

  9. As the Holidays get closer and people get more hurried, these are good things to keep in mind.

  10. I loved this! Thanks for the great ideas!

  11. Fantastic List Diana! It is important for us all to remember to have the Christmas spirit year round and do what we can to help others.

  12. Thank you Diane, if we all just did one thing off you list each day/week or month we'd live in a happier world.

    Recently when shopping mum commented on how many people were smiling at her, I said smile back you might just make their day. Its so easy, free and it really picks you up.

  13. simple little things with BIG meanings...

    thanks, you've made me want to start.


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