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Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to be blessed with tons of discretionary income in order to help others. There are many ways to help one’s community that don’t have to cost a fortune, some being more valuable than a check. 

One of the best things you can do as a local is to support local businesses. The only thing keeping many brick and mortar businesses from dying out is local patronage. Whenever possible, even if it comes at an inconvenience compared with speedy online options, is to shop at your local neighborhood mom and pop stores. That being said, they are confined by a smaller physical space that large online warehouses are not, so you might not always be successful. Any attempt to shop locally will help, so try asking whether they can order the item for you so you both benefit from the purchase. Another way to help out is by attending festivals and events that feature local artists and bands. Social media has made it easier than ever to sign up to be notified about happenings in your area. Food trucks are a big trend these days and they are usually operated by friends and neighbors. If the event is charity-based, you get the satisfaction of not only helping local businesses but also donating to a meaningful cause.

Free time that is given in order to benefit another person is one of the most selfless things there is. Volunteerism is the cornerstone of humility and altruism. There are countless ways your free time can make another’s life better. Animal shelters often need volunteers to help walk and play with dogs who are waiting for their forever homes. Retirement homes are full of older people who would be delighted to have companionship, sometimes just to talk to or read to them. Meals on wheels is a great service that delivers food to people who are house-bound. There are also ride share services that give you the opportunity to drive elderly to collect prescriptions or go to doctor’s appointments. 

The idiom one man’s trash is another man’s treasure exists for a reason. Items that are no longer valuable to you, such as clothing or shoes, can easily be donated to Goodwill or Salvation Army-type community aid centers. These can then be purchased at a fraction of the cost to help improve another person’s quality of life. If you have any non-perishable foods, you can also look for any food drives requesting donations.