You’ve seen those red collection bins inside all the convenience stores during December. You’ve gotten that notification on GroupMe that your classmate’s org is collecting blankets for displaced refugees from Syria. You know that girl you chatted up in South between classes who’s volunteering to travel to Haiti to prepare food for hospital patients. You have that friend who’s working with a conservation agency to protect Bengal tigers in South Asia.
There are countless ways in which we, as students, can put forth time and effort to better the world in which we live, but what if we don’t have much money to donate? What if we’re home for the summer?
If you’re one of those students that loves philanthropy and just can’t stand sitting around at home all summer, this article is for you. I’ve compiled a list of 5 small things you can do from your hometown that could greatly benefit the lives of our fellow human beings from all over the world.
1.) Go Canning for a Charity
As students of Penn State University, canning is a profound aspect of our culture. Depending on the laws of your township and/or state, you may have the ability to go “canning” (which is to say, standing in the street and soliciting donations from drivers at stoplights) in order to raise money to donate to an established charity. Additionally, if the prospect of standing inches away from speeding cars turns you off to the idea of canning, you could just as easily do it from the sidewalk provided you follow the rules mandated by your township’s and organisation’s codes pertaining to donation practices.
2.) Encourage others to make individual donations to a pre-established humanitarian aid fund
Similarly to how we do it in the HUB, another way to raise money for your favorite cause is to compile and distribute information about appropriate charities and organizations. For example, you can help citizens of Flint, Michigan get clean water through online donations, or even make donations to help rebuild Ecuadorian villages destroyed in the recent earthquake through a Penn State affiliated fund.
3.) Collect non-monetary donations for local shelters
Every community has a food bank or a homeless shelter that relies on community donations to be able to provide services to those that necessitate them. Two types of donations that are always sought by shelters are non-perishable foods and blankets. With the cooperation of local schools, businesses, and recreational areas, you can construct and advertise donation boxes to collect these items and distribute them to your local shelters and food banks.
This one’s an easy one that not a lot of people think to do- homeless shelters, animal shelters, food banks, public kitchens, and non-profits are almost always looking for more people to volunteer for them, and it’s an excellent way to become more directly involved with and learn more about the organisations you support. Additionally, there are plenty of resources available through the internet to volunteer online without the need to travel.
5.) If all else fails…
… Then start your own non-profit, create some sort of organisation that will accept and distribute donations, or even just start conversations about humanitarian aid. Get your friends involved with you, call your state or federal legislature to voice your opinions on accepting Syrian refugees, the prevalence of wealth inequality in the United States, or whatever topic you believe most needs to be faced for the betterment of our world and species.
Photo credits: THON