5 Simple Ways to Give Back


1) Volunteer as tribute–to a good cause.

Nonprofits generally function with the help of volunteers. Around the holidays, there are organizations that host events to serve the community. Donating several hours of your time at an event can be a great way to reach people and a means to participate at your local church, shelter, or nonprofit in general. It could be a change of pace that puts breaks the routine of your week and an opportunity to give in quite an impactful way.

Suggested volunteer places: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Lane County, Bags of Love, Catholic Community Services, Food for Lane County, Friends of Trees, and Greenhill Humane Society.

2) Paying it forward through coffee.

If you are waiting in line for coffee, purchasing someone else’s drink for them could definitely cheer them up and remind them that caring people still exist. If you are hesitant to buy coffee for the stranger behind you, who might be intending to buy twenty drinks for their co-workers, perhaps buy a drink for someone you know as an encouragement during the tumult of dead week and finals. They might become inspired because of your deed and may do the same for someone else, initiating a positive chain reaction.

3) Packing a box of goods for a family in need (or just to bless them.)

Not everyone will experience the comforts of being with their family in a warm house or will get to feast and open Christmas gifts together. Even though most college students are known for dog paddling in pools of debt, consider if you know someone who is struggling to meet basic needs, or a family who is in a financial crisis. Compiling a care package is an action that extends beyond thinking happy thoughts for them. It doesn’t have to involve spending money–even going through your food pantry and putting aside food items to give away is an act of compassion!

Suggested food places: Food for Lane County, St. Vincent de Paul, Pray Big Food Pantry, Salvation Army, Eugene Christian Fellowship, FFLC Food Pantry, Catholic Community Services – Food Box Distribution, and Larry Collins Memorial Pantry.

4) Donating extra clothes or goods to a nonprofit.

It’s been a consistently frigid 30 degrees Fahrenheit this week in Eugene, with sprinklings of snow, here and there. Perhaps if there are clothes in your dresser or closet that are gently used and could be gifted to another person, consider donating them to a local nonprofit organization. There are homeless shelters here in Eugene and churches that accept material donations to distribute throughout the community. Simple necessities, like warmer clothing, can exponentially improve someone’s life if they don’t have a heated space to call their own. Basics such as coats, gloves, and scarves can make a world of difference to another person.

Suggested clothing places: Eugene Mission, Salvation Army, Goodwill, Womenspace (is an organization that helps victims of domestic abuse, they need school supplies for children; its ran by former alum Teresa Aslin), White Bird Clinic, Hosea Youth, The Relief Nursery, and Bags of Love.

5) Write a meaningful letter to someone who is significant to you.

A text can be rather meaningful, but receiving a handwritten letter is especially significant in this digital age. Writing a letter that is not limited to a set number of words or message can allow one to fully express deeper thoughts and emotions. Has someone done something for you or said something that has affected you in a radical way? Does someone dear to you need support or could benefit from a letter of encouragement? If anyone comes to mind, what reason is there to not show them how they have influenced you? Writing letters are still a wonderful and effective means of communication; let’s keep it alive!

Some of the organizations listed here are suggestions, but there are many more of them here to consider here in Eugene, Springfield, and beyond.

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