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How to Help During the Pandemic: Practical Ways You Can Help Your Community
These are crazy times we’re living in, and many of us feel unsure of what to do with ourselves. Some of us used to work outside the home and are now home all the time, while others have suddenly found themselves stepping into the role of school teacher as they manage their child’s education online.
Everyone is relying more on others to meet their basic needs. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give back. In fact, there are several ways that you can help your community without ever leaving your home – and, for bonus points, they are also inexpensive.
Make face masks
Are you handy with a sewing machine? Many people have started making masks from their homes to donate to neighbors, family, or even healthcare and other essential workers. You don’t have to get fancy – there are even some local groups, like the members of Mask Members 2020 West Cobb, who are banding together to create nearly 7,000 face masks for essential workers. They also uploaded some tutorials to their Facebook page, so join their group and get to sewing!
Reach out to public servants
Did you hear about Emerson, the 11-year-old from South Dakota who decided to write a special note to her mailman, Doug? This small act of kindness has erupted into a huge operation, in which several dozen postal employees have written to Emerson, while she answers every single letter. This is a great idea for your own postal worker, along with sanitation workers, policemen, and any of the other public servants in your area. Write a quick note of encouragement to say thanks for their hard work!
Send food to essential workers
Many essential workers, both in medical care facilities and places like grocery stores, are working overtime at exhausting jobs with little or no time for rest and good food. Contact your local hospitals, like Northside Hospital Gwinnett, and ask if you can donate a few meals.
If that isn’t financially feasible for you, team up with a group of friends and donate to a gift card that you can send to the units most heavily impacted so they can order food in for everyone working. Many hands make light work, so use your social media accounts to gather more people to the cause.
Check on your neighbors
Do you have neighbors? This is a great opportunity to reach out to them and see if they are okay. If you are picking up groceries at Kroger this weekend, leave a note in their mailbox asking if you can add anything to your list for them. Even asking your kids to make a special card is a great way to remind people that they have friends around them.
If your neighbors are older, or are working constantly, or have young kids in need of a lot of supervision, they may not have the chance to do things like yardwork, so if you have the time and ability, offer to water plants or mow the lawn.
Do some online tutoring
If you are or have ever been a Georgia teacher, you know how complicated it can be to teach kids, especially from home, surrounded by distractions. Why not offer others the benefit of your expertise and help local kids out with their math homework over Zoom or Google Meet?
Let others know that you happen to be amazing at tenth-grade geometry, and set up a time to work with students who may need some extra assistance to complete their studies. If you’re not a teacher, but you have a great eye for proper grammar, offer to proofread essays and papers for students trying to complete final grades.
As the saying goes, no one can do everything – but everyone can do something. Find a way, big or small, to reach out to your community and offer some encouragement. There’s no time like the present, so go ahead and get started!
How to help small businesses during COVID-19
Many locally owned businesses are struggling because of COVID-19. With social distancing measures in place, small businesses are either drastically changing how they operate or shutting their doors altogether. However, there are various ways you can help local businesses stay afloat. Here are five things you can do to help small businesses in your community survive:
Purchase gift cards
Gift cards are a great way to support small businesses while maintaining social distancing. By purchasing a gift card, you’re still contributing to local businesses, and you can shop or go out to eat at a later date. This especially helps places that have had to completely shut their doors, like nail and hair salons or boutiques. Most places allow you to purchase gift cards on their website.
Continue to shop online
Shopping online is another fantastic way to practice social distancing and continue supporting local businesses. Despite closing their doors to foot traffic, many small businesses are still open and operating, offering curbside pick-up or delivery. Even if some businesses don’t have the option to purchase online, you can often shop by simply messaging them through social media sites like Instagram or calling the store and placing an order directly.
Many local restaurants offer takeout or curbside pick-up. Most restaurants are also waiving delivery fees or offering no-contact delivery—meaning the delivery driver leaves your order outside of your door. If you plan having your food delivered, try to order directly from the restaurant, so you know they’re receiving 100% of the profits. A majority of food delivery services take a portion of the profits for themselves or charge restaurants high fees.
Contribute to a fundraising campaign
If you don’t feel comfortable ordering from restaurants, you could contribute to a fundraising campaign. Many restaurants and other small businesses are starting fundraisers for their employees who aren’t working their full hours or aren’t working altogether. Most post the fundraisers on their social media pages—all you have to do is donate online. However, do your research to be sure that what you’re donating to is legitimate. And, if your favorite restaurant doesn’t have a fundraising campaign, you could even start one for them.
Share on social media
If you’re not in the place to contribute financially, that’s okay. You can still help small businesses by solely sharing their posts on social media. Share a local restaurant’s menu or a local boutique’s post about their virtual styling appointments—either way, a simple share goes a long way, and it’s greatly appreciated by many small businesses.
Georgia’s Own Credit Union recognized for community outreach
Our very own Adam Marlowe, Principal Market Development Officer, discussed our constant dedication to improving the community—an important philosophy of Georgia’s Own. From partnering with organizations, such as L.E.A.D and Action Ministries, to promoting financial wellness, Georgia’s Own consciously prioritizes giving back to our members and their communities.
Because of our efforts, we received the BadCredit.org Editor’s Choice Award for Community Commitment.
Click here to learn more about our endeavors during 85 Acts of Kindness.
The Gift of Giving: 10 Ways To Be Charitable this Holiday Season
We all know the holidays are a time for giving. This year, why not celebrate the season by choosing a gift that really makes a difference?
Charitable gift-giving is one of the best ways to spread generosity, kindness, and good cheer this time of year. After all, it’s not the “getting” that’s important, it’s sharing our good fortune with friends and neighbors in need. Whether they’re here in our communities or around the world, everyone should know joy and hope this season.
Generosity is good for us. It’s said to raise levels of happiness and emotional well-being. It can also help make tax time a little less painful. As long as you itemize your deductions, a donation will help reduce your taxable income. If that’s your ultimate goal, however, be sure to consult with a tax advisor before you write a check.
Whether you make a donation for the tax benefit or because it warms your heart, there are lots of ways to be charitable. To help, we’ve rounded up a few ideas. Here are ten ways to give the gift of generosity this season:
Help when it’s needed most
The American Red Cross donors, volunteers, and employees work to prevent and relieve suffering during emergencies, collect life-saving blood, support America’s military families, and so much more! You can honor friends and family with a gift that helps those when they need it most.
Sponsor a family
Find an Adopt-A-Family program through the Salvation Army, local charities, religious organizations, or your workplace. If you feel like a family may be too big of a commitment to manage on your own, ask others to join the cause. The more people that participate, the greater joy your gift will bring.
Buy goods that do good
Consider buying from a retailer who donates a portion of their sales to a charity. For example, buy LUSH’s hand and body lotion, Charity Pot. You’ll be pleased to know that 100% of the price (minus the taxes) supports causes like human rights, animal protection, and environmental justice. Not only will your sister (mother, girlfriend, daughter) love her gift, she’ll appreciate the contribution to a cause that’s close to her heart. Here’s a list of companies and products that share the wealth with worthy causes and help make the world a better place.
Time is just as valuable
Charities are always willing to accept cash donations, but sometimes donating your time is even better. Consider volunteering at a soup kitchen. They need help with preparation, serving, cleanup, and whatever else it takes to feed those in need. Stock shelves at your local food pantry or help deliver meals on wheels. Sometimes a smiling face and a helping hand is worth more than money in the bank.
Donate your stocks or bonds
Donating a portion of your portfolio may get you a bigger bang for your buck. If a stock has increased in value since you bought it more than a year ago (and if you itemize deductions), you can take a charitable deduction for the stock’s fair market value on the day you donate it. You’ll also avoid capital-gains taxes on the appreciation. Check out the five things you should know about gifting stock here.
Gift your frequent flyer miles
Are you a frequent flyer? Maybe you’ve accumulated more than too many miles, or are in danger of losing miles that are getting ready to expire. Consider donating them to a charity like the Make-A-Wish® Foundation. Every mile you donate will help kids and their families travel to destinations around the world. It’s just one simple way you can help share the power of a wish.
Send care packages to our troops
Let our servicemen and women know they’re being remembered during the holidays by sending a care package. Treat the Troops and Any Soldier are organizations that coordinate ways to give to our deployed soldiers. It’s a great way to let them know how much we appreciate their service and their sacrifice.
Give a charity gift card
When you make a donation in someone else’s name, you’d like for it to be a charity that’s important to them. Now, you can honor them by donating to the cause they’re most passionate about. Give the gift of good at tisbest.org, and the recipient can choose from among 300 charities to allocate the money. It’s a win-win!
Buy gifts through Amazon Smile
Knock out that holiday list by shopping on the Amazon Smile website. You’ll find the same prices and products as Amazon.com, but they’ll donate 0.5% of the price to your favorite charity. It’s a simple way for you to support your favorite organization every time you shop.
Create a gift registry
If you don’t need another holiday tie or pair of slippers, create your own gift registry at MyRegistry.com. List your favorite charities and ask your family and friends to make a donation in your name. Not only is it a great way to support a cause, but it may also inspire some others to consider a charitable registry too.
There are many opportunities to donate to a charity or a cause that inspires you. It doesn’t need to be limited to the holidays, either. There are always people in need, so think about being generous throughout the year. When you donate goods, services, time, or talent, you not only impact others’ lives, you also bring more meaning to yours.
Georgia’s Own Gives Back and You Can, Too!
There are a number of reasons that people make charitable donations. Whether it’s to feed the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless, support cancer research, or to build a new church, it’s often a personal choice to support a cause that’s close to your heart. Others use charitable donations as part of a smart financial strategy that reduces their tax liability or helps to build a legacy they can leave behind.
The ROI on charitable giving
Whatever the reason, charities depend on your contributions to continue their mission. But, they also reward you with something in return. The act of donating, whether it’s money, time, or goods, improves your wellbeing—and that’s a proven fact! It reduces stress, improves your mood and self-worth, and can positively affect your mental health.
When you contribute to or volunteer with a local charity, it helps build community, gives you a sense of belonging, and serves as an example that encourages others to follow. It’s also incredibly fulfilling when you can see the direct results of your giving.
Invest in your community
Georgia’s Own understands how important it is to give back to the community. Our passion for serving extends beyond the financial products and services we offer, and we take great pride in working alongside local charities. Here are a few of the organizations we support and maybe some opportunities for you to consider, too!
Action Ministries is a nonprofit organization that helps Georgians break the cycle of poverty by meeting their basic needs of hunger relief, housing, and education. Georgia’s Own partners with Action Ministries on their Smart Lunch, Smart Kid initiative, which provides meals during the summer months for those children who live in food-insecure households. Without a school-sponsored free or reduced lunch program, and limited access to adequate food and nutrition, the children’s health and wellbeing are at greater risk.
We collect donations at each of our branch offices ($5 feeds a child lunch for 2 days!) and have held lunch-packing parties with our Georgia’s Own employees. We also regularly volunteer at their Women and Children’s Community Kitchen in midtown Atlanta and participate in their Feed the Hungry program. There are always opportunities for others in the community to get involved, so come join us!
Each year, Georgia’s Own donates the proceeds of their annual golf tournament to L.E.A.D., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower at-risk, black males to lead and transform their city and live a life of significance.
L.E.A.D. works to create positive outcomes by leveraging the relationship between education, athletics, and service. To date, 100% of their participants, called Ambassadors, have graduated from high school and have enrolled in college, 92% of which have received college baseball scholarships. Love baseball or just have a passion for helping to drive change? Your monetary donation or volunteer time will be well spent with this organization!
Jesse’s House is an emergency and long-term shelter for adolescent girls who have suffered from abuse or delinquency. To date, over 550 girls have been welcomed into the shelter and protected from an unfit or unsafe environment. We recently held a luggage drive at our Cumming location to provide a new piece of luggage for every girl to use when she’s ready to leave Jesse’s House. So often they only arrive with the clothes on their backs or a few things in a trash bag, at best, and have nothing with which to start their new journey.
If you can lend a hand, they always have volunteer opportunities for general house maintenance, organizing fun outings, meal donations, and more. Consider serving as a mentor, teaching a life skill, or simply coming to spend some with the girls!
Read with Malcolm is a youth literacy initiative founded by Malcolm Mitchell of UGA Football and New England Patriots fame. The goal of his foundation is to transform the lives of young students through literacy.
By introducing book ownership to households where reading is not a high priority and working to improve literacy in schools, every child will have the opportunity to read. An astonishing 61% of families in the U.S. do not have access to age-appropriate books at home, despite the fact that a child’s success in school and later in life is greatly dependent on their ability to read and write. We have made several donations of books to the foundation and have had many of our employees volunteer at Malcolm’s ‘Reading Rallies’ around Atlanta.
Literacy is the foundation of all learning. Volunteer with this foundation, and you’ll have tons of opportunities to help prepare these students for a brighter and more successful future.