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13 Inspiring Ways To Help Your Community Year-Round

If you want to do something good for yourself, start by doing something good for someone else. Helping is easy: Donate to Canadian Blood Services today.

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Courtesy of Melissa Liu / Via

"I sell my paintings and donate a portion of my profit to support art education in New York City. I think being able to paint is a gift, and I remember how much I loved art classes as a kid. I want to help in making sure all children can have art class as part of their childhood."

—Melissa L.

"Since the passing of our dog in 2012, my wife and I have been missing having a dog in our life. We are so excited to have been approved to foster and train a puppy that will, after a little over a year, go through intensive training to become a guide dog for blind people in my city. Saying goodbye will be tough, but we know he'll go on to make someone's life so much brighter."

—Paul C.


"If you use a blogging platform, you have the tool to be a support system for anyone in your online community by just saying 'If you need someone to listen, I'm here.' When many people started using that 'ask box' feature on my blog for my advice, I created a sub-blog where anyone could anonymously or personally ask for my advice on just about anything. I speak from what I know and offer support, and share links to professional help, groups, or techniques that I trust, which is so amazing that we can do that with the click of a button.

"It is so moving to get messages from people who took my advice a while ago and tell me how they have become better from it, especially when I can encourage someone to seek professional help or treatment for a serious issue that I've been through. I just try to be the supportive peer that I wish I had when I was younger."

—Mandy C.

"When I was in grade school, my scout troop wanted to do a project that the whole community could enjoy. We decided on creating a butterfly garden in a community park so that the park would always be a home to butterflies. We researched what kinds of plants butterflies like, asked nurseries and home improvement stores for donations, and got a plot of land from our township. We spent a whole day planting — and the garden is still there today!"

—Dana V.

Courtesy of Marylynn C.

"Living in the city with a huge yellow lab in the apartment, we always utilized Central Park’s sprawling, dog-friendly spaces to let our girl run wild off the leash, enjoy nature, and play with other dogs. To give back and help keep the park safe and welcome to all dogs, I volunteer with a program under my community’s park conservatory. The most fun are the public events in the park that raise community awareness and support our canine buddies. It’s hardly work when there are wagging tails involved."

—Marylynn C.

"Every spring I make it a point to go through my closet and take out anything I haven't worn in over six months. Instead of reselling those clothes for, like, 20 bucks, I will take them to the Goodwill, those donation bins on my block, or a church around the corner. It's a small thing, but it frees up space in your closet and gives someone a fly-looking shirt to put on their back."

—Blake B.


"I pretty regularly donate platelets, but one time I got matched with a kid who had a special kind of anemia. They gave me a special steroid the night before (I totally lifted, bro!) and then looped me up to an aphaeresis machine the next day because he specifically needed both platelets and red blood cells. So I felt a little bit better about that one than the usual donation."

—Chris D.

"I give blood because my best friend had to have a blood transfusion once after she lost a lot of her own, and it hit home that she wouldn't have been OK had someone not donated theirs. Also I have a blood type where ANYONE can take my blood, and I think that it'd be crazy not to give it away, so everyone can have it! You get a blood! And you get a blood! But also because the nurses are always very kind, and you get to eat sugar and not have to feel bad about it."

—Ayla N.


"There is a program called Big Brother, Big Sister that I used to do back in Australia, where I'd be a mentor to a little 'sister' and just sit and chat with her once a week about life and things, and read or do fun things, and it was one of the most special and rewarding experience that I would encourage everyone to do. Actually, I may have gotten more out of it than she did, tbh."

—Athena F.

"Anyone who speaks a second language or even kind of speaks it, or took it in school, can make a huge difference volunteering in just about any capacity at a local immigration or welfare program. I volunteered for a year at an immigration legal clinic in L.A. which was actually run by the Los Angeles Bar Association. Even they didn't have enough Spanish speakers. If a state-funded legal clinic in Los Angeles can't find enough people to speak Spanish, you know no one else can. There are a legion of people out there who don't get help for reasons as simple as they can't fill out the right form."

—Eric S.


"I used to think that community service was just something you had to do if you got in trouble. I never realized how many opportunities there were to help out the community, like cleaning blocks, painting walls, playing with animals in the shelter, building things in parks... I love doing some community service on the weekends because I feel like it is being a part of something bigger than myself."

—Pearson B.

"Last Thanksgiving I volunteered at a local church to help serve meals to those who were without. It was nice to put my old waitress skills to the test and serve food and drinks to a room full of nice folks, but my favourite part was when I had a chance to sit down and chat. I talked to this older gentleman for nearly 45 minutes about our shared love of films from the 1930s, his eyes filling with passion for certain scenes, lines, and performances. His spirit was so beautiful, his inspiration unwavered by the circumstances life threw him (he was living in a shelter at the time). We still keep in touch by email — he now has a job, a place to live, and just bought a television with a VCR. I plan on mailing him some tapes when I win the bid for them on eBay."

—Magdalena W.


"It's such a small, simple thing, but smile at people, anyone, always (but not like in a creepy way). I will never forget this one time in high school I was having a really crummy day and feeling sorry for myself. I was walking down the hall, and this girl I had a class with saw me and just flashed the biggest smile. I'm not sure why, but that always had such a big impact on me. Since then, I make it a point to try to smile at everyone I see."

—Allie N.

Help your community and beyond in life-giving ways. Donate to Canadian Blood Services and be the hero someone needs (and deserves!).