Reaching out to help the community

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO 2004008944

Good-hearted people almost always profess to wanting to help others, but most of us don't go out and start our own charities or projects in order to take part in "paying it forward." And we don't have to, because opportunities are all around us. You don't have to be a volunteer, a "do-gooder" or even have a particular cause in order to help others.Mended Hearts

In fact, entire organizations exist to gather resources and then distribute help to those who need it. In the Cape Girardeau area, Salvation Army, United Way, and Love INC are examples of year round opportunities. There are more, of course. Individuals can donate goods, time, or money by tapping into these organizations. Among the most successful collection efforts, though, are those that are organized by groups. My church, for instance, collects money for the local food pantry at least four times each year.  All of us are familiar with Salvation Army red kettles during the holiday season. Again, through my church, I am able to volunteer as a bell ringer and to participate in an empty bowl campaign for the hungry. United Way benefits from employees who contribute via payroll deduction at many local businesses.

For those of us who belong to a church, that offers many opportunities to serve. Church-based activities are my primary volunteer efforts. In addition to serving on the deacon board and church council, I am the church photographer, taking and posting photos of our routine and special activities and posting them to our Facebook page every week. Vacation Bible School this year ended with a CARNIVAL celebration night. I was pleased to be able to provide scripture fortune cookies for the fortune teller (the number of specialized items you can find online at places such as Oriental Trading is astouding). Individual contributions such as that make activities less of a drain on the church budget. The CARNIVAL was a resounding success, and it gave me tremendous photo opportunities.

You don't have to be committed to a particular cause or even a single cause to help. Samaritan's Purse Shoeboxes for Children is a yearly drive, for instance, conducted through local churches and the community at large. It is an example of how a group can provide its members an organized opportunity to contribute. My local Board of Realtors has started a community relations effort which highlights one community cause each month. This month, we are collecting school supplies. Other mini drives we have conducted include supplies for a no-kill animal shelter and comfort kits for deployed military.

Sometimes just being a member of a special interest group is community service; because if individuals didn't join and participate, that group would not exist to help others. As an open heart surgery survivor, for instance, I belong to a support group called Mended Hearts. I am serving this year as an officer, but I am also a trained volunteer visitor. Mended Hearts ambassadors visit patients in the hospital who have had surgery. Our entire mission is to reassure them that recovery is ahead for them, just as it was for us. We often answer non-medical, personal experience, questions for the patients and family members.  "How to take a shower once you get home" is one frequent topic.  I recommend getting a bedside commode to put inside a tub. With the potty part removed, it becomes an excellent chair that allows a heart patient to take a wonderfully long, hot shower! The artwork above is the new Mended Hearts logo.

Look around, the opportunities to serve in big and small ways are everywhere. Make yourself feel better and pay it forward!



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Comments (6)

Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Liz- Churches and other places of worship provide a great support for our communities.  It's amazing to me how when we come together we can accomplish so much. 

Jul 30, 2014 03:32 AM
Liz Lockhart
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO - Cape Girardeau, MO
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate

Kathy Streib ~ There's nothing so effective as a group effort. I'm proud of my church and my MLS for community efforts.

Jul 30, 2014 04:35 AM
Rob Marken
Bend River Realty - Bend, OR
25+ years experience in Bend

Thanks for sharing your story! I agree that it is so important to give back to the community and many times we have opportunities around us that we need to take advantage of. 

Jul 30, 2014 04:48 AM
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Hello Liz! You make a good point. We don't need to start our own charity, there are plenty of organizations out there that just need some extra hands!

Aug 02, 2014 02:21 AM
Liz Lockhart
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO - Cape Girardeau, MO
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate

Rob Marken ~ Thanks for reading and for commenting!

Donna Foerster ~ And it doesn't have to be the same cause all the time. Just lend a hand whenever you can.

Aug 02, 2014 11:02 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Many of us need to devote more time and effort for good causes in our home communities.

Aug 06, 2014 12:01 AM