4 Easy Ways to Give Back in 2014

This is a guest post written by Danny Hindman

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Right about now, all across the country people are snapping out of their holiday junk food fest and realizing that it is going to take a little bit of resolve to repair the bodily damage done over the past few weeks (just me? OK…). The thing about a resolution like this (or any resolution for that matter) is that it is inspired by something we realize we should be doing, but aren’t, like eating well and taking care of our bodies. The junk food one is an easy target. But we’re built for more than just eating well, right?

Because that’s true, I propose a new resolution for 2014: give back. There are opportunities all over every city and small town in the country. Here are a few ways to incorporate serving others in your daily routine.

Serve the homeless. Every city has homeless shelters, and they all need more volunteers. Lots of cities even have networks of multiple shelters. Get in contact with these people and serve once a week—same time, same place. That will make it part of your and you’ll build relationships in the process.

Donate old stuff. We all have stuff we don’t ever use or wear. Go through your closet and storage rooms this winter and get rid of what you don’t need. I guarantee there are people who do.

Shovel snow. If you’re south of, say, Missouri, this one won’t mean much to you. If you’re not, however, shoveling someone’s driveway and sidewalk after a big snowstorm is a small act of service that is a really wonderful surprise.

Get involved with a charity or non-profit. There are literally thousands to choose from. Give your time or your money or your resources—anything. There are lots of people out there who need whatever help people are willing to give.

You could also support these brands who are already all about giving back. Check them out:

Falling Whistles: Whistles to help end the war in Congo. Horrified by stories of child soldiers sent into battle armed with nothing but whistles, this company is committed to working for peace and the restoration of a country torn apart by war. Proceeds go towards raising awareness, building the economy, and political advocacy.

Serengetee: Look great, give back: clothing to benefit countries all over the world. 5% of every purchase goes toward the cause associated with the product. Love the new America tees, with benefits going to the the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, serving US military personnel wounded or injured in service to our nation.

Barnabas Clothing Co.: Intentionality is in the name with Barnabas clothing. Barnabas literally means, “son of encouragement,” and the folks over there hope that you would be just that in the world as you wear their clothes. On top of that, they have this cool strand graphic tee as well as a “beard-stache” long sleeve tee that I want because I can’t really grow a mustache.

SoapBox Soaps: The folks at soapbox soaps believe that a great product + a great mission = a great company. Product: all-natural soaps—vegan, gluten and palm oil free. Mission: cleanliness for those in need. For every bar of soap purchased, Soapbox donates a bar of soap, clean water, or vitamins to a child in need.

be packs: Born in a college dorm room, be packs are back packs to help educate children who can’t afford it on their own. High quality, UV, water and mildew resistant bags that help put a child through school. A “win-win”, as they say.

EduKate: Accessories made in the USA, sold to help educate young women in third world countries. Local production empowers women right here at home; proceeds from their products have helped girls in Cambodia, Tanzania and Guatemala. Check out the iPhone cases! You won’t find those anywhere else. I’d get one if they made them for flip phones.

GiveGloves: Purchasing GiveGloves helps directly supply medical work around the world. Here’s how it works: 1 pair of GiveGloves = 50 pairs of medical exam gloves and 20 pairs of sterile surgical gloves to healthcare providers working in developing countries. They even make those gloves with the magic fingertips so you can have warm fingers doing whatever it is people do on Instagram (again, I have a flip phone).

SOCO Hammocks: “Kick back, give back” sounds about right to me. If you’ve never tried out this sort of hammock—the ones you can actually use when you’re hiking through the Rockies—you must. I’ve never slept so well. Plus, when you get one of these, you help support the non-profit of the month.