It got me thinking about ways to give, since we don't have much disposable income even with me working (thanks in part to childcare expenses and student loans that finally need repaid). I still feel like I need to give, and model that for my children. Here are a few ways that I have found to help even with little money.
1. The Hunger Site. This is a website that pays charities per click. Add it to your toolbar and click it daily. I checked into this before promoting it, and Snopes says it's legit. So this is one way you can donate a little each day without much effort. Check the lineup on the website, you can also click to help children, literacy, breast cancer research, and much more.
2. Crowdtap. I've mentioned Crowdtap before, but in addition to taking quick surveys and trying new products, when you register you can pick a charity to have points and funds directed to. As you earn points for various activities (from signing in, clicking poll options, or submitting reports for product samples) you can also redeem them for charity gift cards. I have struggled with redeeming Amazon giftcards for myself, and have decided that it'd be easier for me to just use this as another way to give.
3. Clothing. This is one way to donate that is probably the easiest for those of us with growing kids. If you have gently used clothing there are probably many local charities that would gladly take them. Check in your area for food pantries, shelters for homeless, or safe houses. Many times these families have growing children as well who could use the clothes. This time of year coats and blankets may be especially appreciated.
4. The Humane Shelter. My local Humane Shelter collects various things you could purchase (such as food, litter, etc), but there are also items on the list that you could find at home. Old towels, newspaper, and even aluminum cans are things on the request list here. I've set up an old diaper box to put the newspapers and towels in and plan to donate when it is full. If you can't donate materials, many times they could use dog walkers or people to play with the cats, which brings me to my last option.
5. Your Time. I know we all have busy lives, and that it can be difficult to work one more thing in. I also think that finding ways to donate your time can be worth every minute of stress. I've donated an evening a week to my daughter's troop, but I want to find more ways to get involved (and an extra bonus if I can bring my children along). Many schools have mentor programs where you get to be a positive adult role model for children. Your local food pantries and soup kitchens may need help serving or cleaning up. A road in your town may need cleaned up. This is where you can pick something important to you and find a way to do something about it. Whether that is once a day, week, month, or year is up to you.