The New Year is traditionally the time we reassess and set goals. This year is also a year when it seems the world around us is on a collision course with time. Folks are depressed and anxious. People want to do something--anything--but aren't sure what to do. A lot of them are under the impression they can't do anything to effect change because they're poor or have too many commitments.
It's not 'how much' you do. Your intentions are what matter. Some of the most important things are monetarily free.
1. Time. Time is the single most important thing we can contribute to the world around us. Buy or make a box of greeting cards. You know the ones...they say things like "Hope you're having a great day!" or "Across the miles...". Write a short note inside and mail to someone who is alone or confined to their home. Send one every couple weeks.
2. Reach out and touch. Know someone who is having a terrible time? You may not have the money to help out, but many times, a compassionate listening ear is far more important. Call and be prepared to just listen.
3. Donate. Find a cause and donate. Five dollars a month adds up to sixty dollars by year's end. Almost all of us can afford five dollars a month. Don't have five dollars? Donate two...because that saying "every dollar counts" is completely true. Send money because the folks in charge are the ones who really know what's needed. Don't know where to donate? Food banks, homeless centers, rape support centers, hospice centers. Or mentor a couple children by paying for their school lunches. Volunteer time to watch the children of a caregiver. Most never get any downtime.
4. Get in touch with your local animal rescue and ask what they need. I know our local place has requested clean used towels, blankets, and pet food.
I bet the opportunities to contribute to the world around us are endless. We may not be able to be on the ground to fight fires or help with the aftermath of a tornado or hurricane, but there are many lesser catastrophes happening around us every day. Choose one. Help put out the emotional fires around us.