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There are numerous ways to make a difference, but they don’t always fall in your lap. Sometimes you have to actively seek out ways to help where it is needed and greatly appreciated. Here are 7 ways to make a difference in someone’s life. I hope you are able to do at least one of these in your lifetime and to see the joy it brings to others.

7. Offer to lend a hand during natural disasters

Photo Credit: whatisname

It doesn’t matter what size of natural disaster you end up helping with, assisting the families involved with any type of natural disaster is much appreciated. Being able to lend a hand with building new homes, supplying food, gathering clothing, or tending to wounded animals are just a few examples of things you might do during your volunteer time. People who have been on the other end and experienced a natural disaster of some sort know how good it feels to receive help when it is needed most.

6. Smile

Photo Credit: Flickrgrl42

You’d be surprised how much difference a smile can make to someone. For some people, a smile from a complete stranger does as much good as a hug or a kind word. Haven’t you ever been smiled at and instantly felt better? I have. Usually this smile causes me to smile more at others and I even see them pass the happy greeting on. It is a beautiful chain reaction.

5. Gather supplies for the local food bank or clothes closet

Photo Credit: eyesplash Mikul

Towns often have at least one food bank where food is handed out every day. These are buildings or rooms where people can go to pick up some food for their family. There is usually a large supply of non-perishable foods and each family is allotted a certain amount. Clothes closets are common at schools and churches. These are perfect places for people to find a good winter coat when the need it most of all. Being one of the individuals who gathers this food or clothing items is one of the most rewarding experiences around.

4. Help someone you see struggling

Photo Credit: lydiafairy

Carrying a grocery bag for someone who seems to be struggling with the weight of the bag or helping a person reach an item on a tall shelf are two instances that most people take for granted. Not everyone is capable of easily doing everyday tasks. I’ve seen many elderly people who are struggling with a usually minor task and other people simply walk past them. I always think of my grandparents and of how I would help them if this person was my relative. I don’t see any reason why I have to be related to someone to help them out. Even strangers appreciate help from time to time.

3. Take time to read to kids

Photo Credit: Swamibu

I’d like to think that my son’s love for reading stems from the times that he and I spent reading together before bed time. We would read a book and he’d beg for another and another and so on, until I finally had to put a limit on the number we read each night. Most little kids love attention and reading to them not only provides them with the attention they crave, but it is also educational for them too. Our local library has a different person come in each day of the week to read to the little kids. This service actually benefits both the reader and the kids.

2. Volunteer at a homeless shelter

Photo Credit: jooferr

Unless you’ve been homeless at some point in your life, you don’t know how it feels. Volunteering in a shelter for the homeless is one way to connect with people who might not have any other alternative than to live in a shelter. Many are in a temporary fix and are simply waiting for their new place to be livable or for their home to be fixed. There are some people in larger cities that have lived in a homeless shelter for years. Getting to know the hardship these individuals have faced allows them to share their life experience and many just want to socialize with other people.

1. Listen

Photo Credit: tdub303

Simply listening to someone can make a huge difference in his/her life. Plenty of people just want someone to talk to and not necessarily a person who will answer questions or anything like that. They just want to have a chat with someone and tell them how they feel or what they did that day. Being a good listener to a person who needs one can definitely make a difference to someone.

Each of these 7 ways to make a difference in someone’s life is options that not all cities have. There are many with volunteer programs, but you may need to make a few phone calls to find out where they are. Do you know of a way you’ve made a difference in someone’s life in the past? Did it encourage you to continue making a difference in other people’s lives?

Top Photo Credit: Grace_L

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