10 small steps you can take to feel good about helping your community


Get into the holiday spirit (and even benefit your health) with these 10 easy ways to brighten someone’s day:

  1. Donate gifts to isolated seniors through Gifts for Seniors, which coordinates gift delivery through service organizations in the metro area. Several Y locations have drop-off barrels.
  2. Pay for the person’s order behind you in the drive-through lane. It will be a pleasant surprise for them to arrive at the window to pick up their order and find it’s already paid for.
  3. Invite a friend to do something active—whether that’s going for a winter run or hitting the gym—you’ll be helping them to live healthy. (Y members: This is a great way to use your guest passes.)
  4. Smile at a stranger. Say thank you to service staff. Hold the door open for someone. Everyday courtesies can go a long way, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
  5. Donate apparel to those who are in need of winter outerwear or professional clothes.
  6. If you beat your neighbor outside for snow removal, take a few extra minutes to shovel their sidewalk or clean snow off their car.
  7. Invite someone over to share a nutritious meal—find ideas here. Or ask your invitees to help you make food for the less fortunate.
  8. Whether it’s on a sticky note, or encased in an envelope, handwrite a complementary or encouraging note for a co-worker.
  9. Drop off a book or two in a Little Free Library. Or, if you’ve finished a book while at a café or on a plane/train/bus—consider leaving it behind for the next person to enjoy.
  10. Try gathering a group to pick up trash at a local street or park. Just gather up some garbage bags and gloves and feel great about taking care of litter.