Spring is here and the weather is warming up. Before you know it, it’ll be summer again and we’ll all be enjoying sunny days that are perfect for outdoor activities. While it’s cool to use this time for sports and leisure, it’s even better if your activities have the added dimension of lending a helping hand.
This coming summer, you might want to consider participating in cause-related activities that let you have fun and socialize. By signing up for community projects, purchasing merchandise that promote awareness and donating cash or goods, you can make a difference in the lives of others while you have a good time. If you’re looking for a cause to support, here are ten that you’ll want to consider:
The Red Cross
The Red Cross is well-known internationally for its blood drive, as the demand for healthy blood is always high and they are always looking for more donors. However, the Red Cross isn’t just about blood donations — they’re also at the forefront of emergency response and disaster relief.
You can sign up to become one of their volunteers, train to be certified emergency responders, donate blood, or even organize fundraising activities for the organization. You can also use social media to be one of their advocates online.
Clean Water for All
There are places in the world that, even in today’s modern times, still don’t have access to clean water for drinking and sanitation. They have to make do with substandard water, or travel miles and miles just to get a gallon to drink. Some even have to go without water for long periods.
Several organizations – like Blood:Water, WaterAid, Asian Development Bank, and UNICEF, among others – have volunteer programs and initiatives that aim to make clean water more accessible to all people around the world. If you can’t participate in their activities, simply being conscientious of how you use water will help immensely in conserving this valuable resource.
Animal Welfare Groups
Whether it’s for the protection of animals in the wild or the ethical treatment of domesticated pets, you can show your love for our furred, feathered, and whiskered friends.
There are many different ways to become an animal welfare advocate, depending on which group (or groups) you choose to support. You can volunteer at an animal shelter, adopt a pet, help train companion animals, campaign for the better handling of animals in testing facilities, just to name a few.
Did you know that more than 13 million children face hunger in the United States?
Hunger can affect people from any race, age group, or community. And as the cost of living rises, coupled with underemployment and stagnant or below-average wages, a person can be one job or medical crisis away from hunger. This is why more than 46 million people still need the help of groups like Feeding America each year.
You can volunteer at food banks, participate in federal hunger relief programs or even donate on a daily or monthly basis to ensure that projects like emergency disaster relief, school-based food pantries, and more continue to be “funded” with enough food.
A popular song says the children are our future. And for 70 years and counting, UNICEF has been at the forefront of defending and promoting the rights of every child. This includes children’s health, access to food and water, education, and protection from threats like trafficking and abuse.
UNICEF works in more than 150 territories worldwide, so wherever you are, you can work with them through volunteerism, donations, social advocacy, or even work with UNICEF directly by building a career with them.
Habitat for Humanity
Having safe, decent, and affordable shelter is important for many, especially families, to build better lives. A home helps them achieve a sense of strength, self-reliance, and confidence that overflows into their communities.
What’s good about Habitat for Humanity and similar organizations like Housing Hope is that, should you pass their requirements, you can help build an actual house that will be awarded to a family in the future. Imagine the sense of fulfillment with the knowledge that you’ve helped put a roof over a family’s head.
If you cannot volunteer physically, you can always choose to donate cash, vehicles, stock, or building materials.
Medical and Health Organizations
Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge that dominated social media a couple of years back? It fueled a surge of donations for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease – research, as well as awareness and overall understanding for the disease.
However, you don’t really need to start a viral online challenge to start supporting and donating to medical and health research. There are a lot of organizations that need your help, from those looking for more affordable and effective medications for afflictions like cancer and Parkinson’s, to those looking for more funding for research and cures for diseases like HIV, and even those campaigning for awareness and education about vaccines.
There are a lot of other causes and organizations you can support not only this summer, but all year round. Do your research, find a cause that’s close to your heart, and give what you can to further their goals and objectives. Have a worthwhile summer ahead!