Lately, my kids have been on a bandwagon of want. Heck, I jump right in there with them sometimes and get lost in the list. I want a hot tub. I want to go on a cruise to Europe. I want more — fill in the multiple blanks. A few things that I don't want are a full belly, safe shelter and people who look out for me because I already have those. So very many people don't.
We don't want less because we have more. We want less only when we allow ourselves to see those who don't have it. One of the best ways to remind yourself and your family of that valuable insight is by putting on your let's-make-a-difference shoes and reaching out to help others who aren't so fortunate.
The opportunities for doing this in the Piedmont and the world should be a very long list. But, this is where I give the task to you. Let us know what volunteering challenges exist and let's work together to jump in and help those who need us.
So, how can you help? Unfortunately, your walk in those shoes could lead you in so many directions that all you want to do is take them off and toss them beneath your already ever-growing to-do list. First, find a cause that personally matters to you and your family. We love animals, so we foster. My neighbor likes to build so he helps Habitat for Humanity.
If you're not yet feeling motivated, I have some heartbreaking hunger statistics for you that hit home. Perhaps, you could begin with local food banks, shelters or soup kitchens. The North Carolina Association of Feeding America Food Banks reports that:
- One in four children in NC is "food insecure." They aren't wishing for a hot tub. They just want a warm meal.
- 73%-75% of households served had to choose from paying for food verses health care medication or heating their home. If you're not a math whiz, that equals three out of four.
- North Carolina ranks among the 10 worst states in for percentage of children lacking food.
Here are a few more places to get your brainstorm going.
The Burlington Youth Council is a community service organization that meets the needs of the Alamance/Burlington middle- and high-school students. Teens volunteer for various events and assists with local programs in the Alamance County area as well as offering activities for themselves. For more information or an application call 336-222-5134.
Search by zip code at HandsOn Northwest North Carolina for opportunities including group service options. You can also search our directory of places where families can volunteer.
The Red Cross also has a huge list of how to help based on your zip code. Or, simply check with local churches, community centers or volunteer organizations to get started.