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Give back to your community - without spending money!

By Elise Romero


There's a word used to describe college students… and that word is “poor,” am I right? But check this out – there are ways we can give back to the community that don’t involve money! 

1. The Freshman 15: Been there, done that, not going back? So what are you going to do with all of those clothes that no longer fit you? Donate them. By cleaning out your closet, you’re helping yourself as well as someone else. Charities like Goodwill and the Salvation Army are happy to accept your clothes – and some might even come right to your door to pick up your donation. What about your clothes that look like they belong in the trash? Planet Aid collects these items and recycles them through textile recycling in hopes of creating a more sustainable environment. With all the charities available, it is easy to find one that aligns with your values!

2. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Donating blood can be intimidating, especially if needles freak you out. But one hour of your time can help save the life of three people! This is a small way to make a big impact in the lives of others. You can also donate your plasma to help treat disorders such as hemophilia and immune system deficiencies. Plasma can’t be produced in a lab, which is why your donation makes such a difference!

3. Take a break from the books and play with puppies! Volunteering at your local animal shelter is a great way to spend some time giving back. Plus, it’s fun! If you’re not an animal lover, then look for other volunteer positions that will pique your interest, like helping at a food pantry or soup kitchen instead. Giving the gift of your time is definitely appreciated. It doesn’t take a lot to give back!

4. Put those studying skills to use. Tutoring underprivileged kids will give you the chance to make a big difference in someone’s life. Your help could be the difference between a student dropping out of school or giving someone the confidence to pursue his or her dreams. If you feel like tutoring is too big of a commitment, there are online programs that allow you to sign up as a tutor and help kids completely online. Find a way that works for you to give back.

5. Become a big brother or sister. You could become a mentor to kids who may not have many positive influences in their life. Big Brother Big Sisters of America is an organization committed to helping children stay on the right path in life. By signing up, you can become that positive influence a child needs!

6. Do you like to build things? Donate your skills and time to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity. This organization builds houses and then sells them to lower income families at no profit with affordable mortgages. Everyone deserves a decent place to live, and this gives you an opportunity to help provide that to someone who otherwise couldn’t afford it.

Donating money isn’t always an option for the average college student. Hopefully, this list can help you find other ways to give back to your community and change someone’s life. Be that change today!


Elise Romero of Goshen, Indiana, is a member of the Eastern Mennonite University Class of 2017.