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I stumbled across this picture and thought, what a clever way to offer scarves to help the homeless or anyone in need during the cold winter season. It is almost an abstract art form with a purpose. This attracts both people who are in need (taking the scarves to keep warm), and those who want to help (tying more scarves on to the tree). This idea is so easy!

We can start a “giving tree” in any community public space. We could call this a community garden that grows support, kindness, and empathy without judgement. Anyone can add to it, and anyone who needs, can take from it. As noted in the picture, it is winter, but there could be variety of easy access things every month to help people who are in need.

When I was recently visiting my family in Pittsburgh, I asked my sister what she had at the bottom of her driveway. It looked like a large mailbox with a glass door and a shelf. She said that is was a sharing library for her neighborhood. She puts books in the little box that her family is done with and others bring books as well. If someone wants to take a book, they do. It is like a library without due dates. This concept can be done with board games as well. After all, someone’s old stuff is someone else’s treasure.

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Another clever idea that I have recently seen, was when someone has an old handbag, cosmetic case, briefcase, or wallet, that they want to get rid of. You fill up the mentioned items with typical things that you carry in a purse, toiletry or cosmetic bag, briefcase, or wallet. Maybe even a small gift card for a cup of coffee or for gas, and give it to a person in need. It will be something they will use and appreciate with some little treats inside that send the message that some cares. It also gives them dignity. It gives someone a functional item with some items that they can use to get started in the right direction.

I hope this has offered ideas that you might pass forward. I know I will try to abide by some of these ways to give back.