Barack Obama has stated in many of his speeches that Americans will have to make sacrifices in the days to come. He has also emphasized the need for service. The call is not going unheeded; however, we can all contribute to our communities, our fellow citizens, our nation.
I remember when the younger generation was known as the “Me Generation.” That trend seems to be reversing. I recently heard how at Howard University, young medical students approached their professors with the desire to start a free clinic in the community. More and more young people are heading food drives, helping clean up parks and other public spaces, and collecting clothes for the poor and homeless. So much is being done; and, yet, there is still so much that needs to be done. In these trying economic times, it is even more imperative that we reach out to others, no matter how small the effort.
There are things we can all do that will help our own communities. You can donate your old clothes or those that no longer fit to the Salvation Army or any other homeless shelter in your area. Have you bought a new set of dishes or pots and pans? Donate the old ones to a women’s shelter. I found out that they often need such household items when they help to relocate a woman into a new home. Find out if your city has a community garden and join in to help maintain it. If there is not one, you can start one yourself. Community gardens are a great way to bring different people together and also provide fresh vegetables to those who might not always be able to afford them. Volunteer as a mentor for a young person or as a buddy for an elderly shut-in. You can even do something as simple as helping your own neighbors. My husband and I have several older couples living in our neighborhood, who we will visit and/or help with just minor chores.
Look around you. There is always something that needs to be done. Our president asks it of us, but we should want to give of ourselves and our time in order to better our community. In addition, we might actually realize that no matter how bad our personal plight might seem, there is always someone who has it worse. You will also find that you might actually be receiving so much more through such acts of selflessness as you gain a new appreciation for all of your own gifts, which you might have been taking for granted.