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November 9, 2021

Four Ways to Give Back to Your Community on a Budget

This time of year, feelings of gratitude and generosity abound. While we’re expressing thankfulness in our own lives, let’s be sure to share joy with others and support our community. We know many of us are looking to stick to our budget during the holiday season, so giving money to charity might not be possible for everyone. That’s why we’ve got four ways you can give back to your community without spending a dime.

1. Give with your time.

Sometimes, what local organizations need as much as dollars is volunteers. If you’re interested in helping your community, volunteering is one of the best ways to start. Our suggestion? Find a cause you’re passionate about and connect with a corresponding organization.

One cause near to our hearts at Grow that affects many people every day is food insecurity. Right now, one out of every five people struggles with wondering where their next meal will come from.1 Many local organizations are working tirelessly to help feed our community, like The Kind Mouse, which provided 140,000 meals to hungry kids in 2020. These organizations rely on volunteers year-round, so there are countless opportunities to give of your time through community service. If you’re nervous to volunteer alone, ask your friends or family if they would like to volunteer with you. Any charitable organization would greatly appreciate the extra help.

2. Give with your everyday support.

You might not think of your everyday shopping as a way to give back to the community, but it actually can be. When you shop local, you’re supporting a local member of your community and everyone they employ. You’re helping to generate positive economic impact right where you live. So, as you’re doing your shopping, whether for day-to-day life or the upcoming holiday season, consider opportunities to support a local business. (Read more about five ways to support local businesses.)

3. Give with positive word of mouth.

How much research do you typically do before making a purchase at a new retailer or trying a new restaurant? We’re guessing quite a bit if you’re like most consumers these days. Maybe you read online reviews or ask friends for their opinion first. This goes to show: your voice matters, and it has a powerful impact.

As a way to give back to your local businesses, consider leaving a positive review of the spots that you frequent or services you’ve used. Local businesses rely on positive word of mouth to reach new customers, so share recommendations with friends too.

4. Give with your resources.

If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve possibly been holding on to gently used clothes that you don’t wear often, like-new toys and games your children don’t play with much, extra pieces of furniture and other things you might not need. Consider donating those items, along with non-perishable food.

Many local organizations have food drives going on throughout the holiday season. Metropolitan Ministries typically serves more than 22,000 families in need in Tampa Bay with holiday meals, and Lowcountry C.A.R.E.S. Ministries and Harvest Hope serve the South Carolina community. Think about how you may be able to support your community beyond volunteering by giving of your extra resources. In addition to knowing you’ve helped out with a need in your community, you can often deduct these non-cash charitable donations on your taxes too.2

From giving of your time to spreading positive word of mouth about a local business, anything you can do to support your community can mean a lot to someone — especially during the holiday season. We hope these ideas inspire you to give back to your community, even while on a budget!

1Metropolitan Ministries. Our Work: Food. Accessed October 28, 2021. https://www.metromin.org/our-work/food/.
2For specific tax advice, please consult a qualified tax professional.


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