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There is always something left to love. And if you ain't learned that, you ain't learned nothing.
—Lorraine Hansberry

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Ten Creative and Simple Ways to Give

Please find below ten creative and simple ways to donate and give back to society with your friends and family. Enjoy the wonderful gift of giving!

1. Bring a Check for Charity Party
2. Themed Giving Get Togethers
3. Birthday Giveaway
4. Travel Size Personal Goods Party
5. Blessed Blooms!
6. Bowling for Dollars
7. Spring Cleaning Block Party
8. Knit & Crochet for Good!
9. Schools Give!
10. Locks of Love

1. Bring a Check for Charity Party
Choose a local charity and send an evite to your family and friends to come over for a fun get-together complete with appetizers and cocktails or a playdate with the kids. Include information about the charity on the evite and ask each guest to bring a pre-written check in a sealed envelope. Collect the checks as guests arrive and proceed with your event. This is a cool way to raise money without your guests feeling any pressure to give a certain amount and a wonderful way to enjoy your friend's great company and give back to society.

Playdate Twist - Identify a children's charity to donate to and have the children create homemade cards to be sent with the gift. This way you have a built-in activity for the children that also instills the importance of giving!

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2. Themed Giving Get Togethers
Designate a needed item like coats in winter, shoes, professional work clothing, baby items, canned goods, etc. and ask your guests to bring the items to your home and have a fun cocktail party to boot! Some great places to donate the items are local homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, food banks, welfare-to-work organizations, teen support centers. Always remember that people who are going through a life-transition often don't have the very basics including diapers for their children, coats, shoes, blankets, etc. Your small gift can mean a great deal to someone in need!

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3. Birthday Giveaway
A great way to instill a sense of service in your child is to encourage them to turn their own birthday party into a service-related event by letting their friends and the parents know through the invitation that the gifts received will be donated after the party. You can allow your child to choose the beneficiary, such as a homeless shelter, orphanage, a group home, the children's ward at a local hospital, or a food pantry. Once you make this decision together, ask for gifts to fit the chosen place. After the gifts are collected at the party, designate a day that you and your child will make the donation together. And, of course, as the proud parent, a great thing to do is allow your child to pick out his or her favorite birthday present for being such a giving and special human being.

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4. Travel Size Personal Goods Party
You know that section that every drug store has where they sell travel size toiletry items, such as toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, soap, razors, etc. Well, host a cocktail party where you ask your guests to bring an assortment of these items to your home. Have several baskets, cellophane paper, ribbon, and scissors available for each guest when they arrive at your home. While you serve and enjoy simple appetizers and cocktails, have your guests create "personal goods care packages." Together you can designate an area homeless shelter or domestic violence center where you can donate your baskets. And if you create a few extras, it is a great thing to store in a closet and pull out when there is a natural disaster and send to one of the temporary shelters that are set-up when tragedies like this happen. This is a fun and very useful party idea and the personal care products will be greatly appreciated!

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5. Blessed Blooms!
Whenever you host a special event, please consider donating the floral arrangements from your special day to a local hospital. Whether you are having a party in your home, a wedding, a Christening or Bat or Bar Mitzvah, chairing a philanthropic event, hosting an anniversary party or even a retirement party, the flowers that you order for your event can be donated and truly bring joy to people who need a ray of sunshine in their lives. All you need to do is contact the community relations office of your local hospital to let them know that you will be donating the flowers from your event and arrange for transpiration to the hospital. And here is a good tip: ask the florist that you hire to transport the flowers after your event. Most florists will be happy to donate their services for this purpose. Usually the flowers are arranged in public areas of a specific ward where families and patients can gather outside of the rooms. When possible, they may even be delivered to actual patient rooms which is just fabulous. This is a fantastic way to extend the "blessed blooms" from your special day and bring joy to those in need.

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6. Bowling for Dollars
Invite your friends and family to go bowling. Ask each person to bring a check of any amount to the bowling alley along with an idea of a charity that they would like to support. Make sure that you bring stamped envelopes, pens, and a basket with you to the bowling alley. At the end of the bowling game, the winner will have the honor of you giving all of the checks to the charity of his or her choice! Give each person a pen and an envelope and ask them to fill in the name of the chosen charity on the check, put the check in the envelope and seal it, and place it in the basket. Once you arrive home, put all of the checks in one large envelope and send the group donation to the charity!

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7. Spring Cleaning Block Party
This is a great neighborhood idea. Send out flyers and ask your neighbors to join you for a spring cleaning block party. Once everyone is confirmed, choose a local charity to donate the proceeds to, choose a date that is best for all, and have everyone clean out their closets, pantry's, and garages. Once the pertinent decisions have been made, make up more flyers and distribute them all over town describing your fundraising effort and your charity of choice. You might also convince a local newspaper to write a profile about your charitable neighborhood! Set up stations on your block the day before the party and ask everyone to bring their items to the appropriate stalls hours before the block party begins. Assign neighbors to work certain stalls and someone to collect and calculate the money raised. This idea not only raises money and brings you closer to your neighbors, but you will also get rid of the unnecessary items in your household that you no longer need!

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8. Knit & Crochet for Good!
Do you belong to knitting or crochet circle? Why not designate a month where you knit or crochet for good. Ideas include making hats and booties and donating them to a homeless shelter, domestic violence organization, or a teen-parenting center. Or you can make shawls and blankets for the elderly. Use your creativity and enjoy the company of your fellow crafters while you make beautiful items for those in need.

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9. Schools Give!
As you know, schools often raise funds to provide little extras for their students. This idea turns this around and raises funds for those less fortunate than the kids who go to your school. Choose a charity or cause, such as supporting another school in a third-world nation. This way you can teach the children how fortunate that they are, educate them about another country, and really make a difference in the lives of school children who truly lack the basics. And this idea is so simple. Ask each teacher to send a note home asking parents to give their child $1.00 to bring to school on a specific date. You will find that it is amazing how much money you can raise if each child brings $1.00 and how far the money will go to support a school abroad.

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10. Locks of Love
Bring your family or your neighborhood together by asking them to cut their hair for charity. There are many organizations that accept human hair to make wigs for people, adults and children alike, who are suffering from cancer or auto-immune diseases such as alopecia. This simple act will bring such joy to someone who has lost their hair and their sense of confidence due to disease. And, of course, for those of us who are healthy, not only does the hair grow back, but many people might find out that they like their new, short hair cut!

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These are just a few ideas out of many possibilities to give back! We encourage you to post your own suggestions here so that we can create a variety of simple and effective community-related fundraising ideas.


Malaak Compton-Rock on The Oprah Winfrey Show on Monday, March 10
Malaak Compton-Rock on The Oprah Winfrey Show on Monday, March 10 discussing episode two of "Oprah's Big Give" and about the joy of donating shoes to Henry Street Settlement.

Malaak Compton-Rock donating 500 pairs of shoes
Malaak Compton-Rock and her friend Erica Reid delivering over 560 pairs of shoes, including 500 pairs courtesy of Liz Claiborne Inc., to Henry Street Settlement, an organization in New York City that aids the city's homeless population.

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