Think about how great a place the world would be if we all gave back just a little. Whether it’s our time or money, giving back to those in need is always a soul-warming experience — even if we’re not the cause of someone’s problems. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the rat race of life that we forget about our fellow man who’s struggling worse than us.
We’ll see a TV commercial for starving children in a foreign country and quickly quip, “That’s so sad,” before Hawaii 5-0 comes back on. It’s that cyclical mentality that makes us shrug things off without resolution. Maybe we convince ourselves that we simply don’t have the means to help, but there’s always something that can be done.
As businesses, we should also be leaders in our community by setting a great example for others. After all, these are the towns and cities that support us. Without them, we’re not able to do what we do. If you’re a business owner in your community, here are some simple ways you can make a difference by giving back.
Feed the Homeless
Despite being lucky enough to live in a country like Canada, not everyone here is lucky enough to have a roof over their head every night. It’s a sad reality, but mental health issues, drug addiction, and other circumstances can lead to homelessness.
As businesses, we can do our part to help. One of the best ways to do that is by offering the homeless a warm meal — especially during special occasions. These are people who can’t afford to have a spectacular meal on Christmas and Thanksgiving. Taking some time to organize a large dinner where homeless people can come in to enjoy some turkey or roast is a great thing to do. It might not change their life on the spot, but it shows that there are people who care about them.
Don’t be afraid to open up, either. Feeding the homeless is as much about building a sense of community as it is about actually giving them food. Take the time to hear their stories if they choose to share. Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand what they need. From something as simple as a short conversation, you might even find some commonality that you didn’t know was there.
Interact with the Elderly
The elderly are often neglected in our society. We put our grandfathers and grandmothers in nursing and senior homes and go on about our busy lives because we have our own things to do. We sometimes forget all the work they put into raising us and stay in our own bubble as much as possible.
In reality, most elderly people aren’t looking for any handouts. They simply want to chat with someone. Living on their own in a nursing or senior home can get lonely, and they may not see their children often, or even at all.
Taking a few hours a week to go down to one of these homes can be a very rewarding experience. Even connecting with the elderly over a game of cards or cup of tea can really make their day. You might even be surprised how much better the conversations are than your average Instagram interaction.
Support Youth Sports
We all know sports are one of the best ways to stay active. For kids, it’s a great way to do that while keeping them out of trouble and teaching them important values from a young age. Some of the very best athletes in the world come from underprivileged areas that needed community support to play sports.
In Canada, for example, we love our hockey. As most parents know, however, hockey can get real expensive, real fast. Businesses can help alleviate some of those costs for parents by sponsoring teams and even getting involved in leagues. A little financial support can go a long way and maybe even help a young kid realize their dream of being the next Sidney Crosby.
Here at Dodd’s, we believe in giving back to the communities that have given us so much over the years. Last year, we proudly celebrated our 20th annual Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless in Victoria, Nanaimo, and Campbell River. We also continue to support amazing organizations like Our Place and their mission of providing for the poor, disadvantaged, and homeless of Greater Victoria.