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9 Ways to Celebrate Spring Charitably

April is Community Service Month, which is the perfect time to get involved in your community and make a difference. Many organizations chose April to bring awareness to their cause by naming it their month of recognition. Children and adults can join them this month by sharing their time, talents and network of friends to celebrate spring charitably.

National Garden Month

You don’t need a green thumb to start seedlings for the community garden at home or in the classroom. When the seedlings have grown and the ground is ready, gather a group to do the planting. Many communities offer a community garden plot for a nominal fee. Offer your harvest of fresh vegetables to a local food pantry throughout the growing season.

Women’s Health Care Month

Women’s shelters never seem to have enough supplies for all the people who need them. Check out the websites of local women’s shelters for their most needed list, which often includes toiletries, towels, feminine hygiene products, cold medicines, hand sanitizers and batteries. Get the word out through word of mouth, flyers and social media. Set up collection boxes at schools, religious organizations and your front door.

Autism Awareness Month

For kids on the normal spectrum, it’s sometimes hard to understand the challenges of living with autism. Partnering with the Autism Society, AMC offers family-friendly movies the second and fourth Saturday of every month as part of its Sensory Friendly Films program. The program lets patrons get up and walk around during the movie or talk freely without being shushed. They “turn the lights up and the sound down.” To support autism and students in your community affected by it, purchase a 500+- piece puzzle and raffle off the pieces. The money collected will go to support autism and the winners of the raffle can attend a movie screening with their classmates for a better understanding of a day in their lives.

Pets are Wonderful Month

Did you ever think about fostering kittens? With an estimated 20 million kittens born each spring, now is the best time to give it a try. As a former kitten foster, I can tell you that kittens are low-maintenance, playful guests and easily adopted. The shelters need you to give them a temporary home, take them to vet appointments, socialize them with people and other pets and post their sweet faces on social media in the hopes of finding them a forever home.

National Older Americans Month

Assisted living facilities can be lonely places to live. Plan a visit with your scout troop or youth group to play games with residents or perform for them. You can also make up a Senior Sunshine Gift – all yellow items – to leave with the residents. Care packages might include Subway cards, Lays chips, peanut M&Ms, lemonade, smiley face items, Juicy Fruit gum, Lemonheads, yellow nail polish, coffee mugs, lip balm and note pads.

Earth Day

Voltaire once said, “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.” That is a great analogy for the abuse of our environment. We are all responsible for the mess and therefore, all need to be responsible for cleaning it up. Look around your school or community and even in your own house. Consider creating a compost pile, unplug the unnecessary power vampires, choose walking over getting rides, be mindful of your water usage and practice the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Keep America Beautiful Month

Check your local community for Adopt a Highway program, where a group goes out to clean up trash in a designated area. You can also organize a Clean Your Block program through KAB.com. This program suggests several ways to help clean up your part of the world by removing litter and debris from the tops of storm drains, educating about local recycling options, removing graffiti and cleaning up local playgrounds.

National Month of Hope

An idea for this event is to lift the spirits of families with loved ones in the hospital. Why not make a meal at a local Ronald McDonald House? Try something beyond pasta like steak fajitas, BBQ pork or an ethnic meal that would best serve that community. You can also gather items for the caregivers like notebooks and pens, adult coloring books, mints or gift cards to the hospital cafeteria.

Stress Awareness Month

Unfortunately, stress is a part of our day-to-day lives. The best way to combat it is to take several breaks during the day. Help set up a space in your classroom, home or workspace that is a place to recharge. A sunny window with fresh air and a comfy seat is a great place to start. Fill the space with coloring books, paints or musical instruments to take a creative break. Offer a yoga mat, a jump rope or the equipment to listen to a meditation podcast.

Related:

5 Ways to Give Back as a Family