It Pays to Give: 5 ideas for investing in the world around you
(Family Features) In a world fraught with social, political and environmental strife, a mindset that involves a more community-driven approach can make a meaningful difference. Each person’s contributions to improve the earth can send a ripple effect that ultimately transforms communities and the people who live within them.
Consider these examples of actions you can take, some bigger than others, that benefit the larger community.
Create Shared Common Spaces
Nearly every community can benefit from the addition of resources that benefit multiple families. Examples include community gardens, playgrounds, parks and sites for regular farmers’ markets, to name a few. These may be wholly new projects or restoring facilities that have faded into disrepair over time. Acquiring the space is often the greatest challenge, but if you’re inspired to lead such an effort, forming a committee of like-minded peers can be an effective step toward raising the funds to create a project that benefits the community at large.
Donate to Charitable Causes
Supporting the efforts of existing organizations that help fill gaps in your community is another way you can make a difference. Offering your time as a volunteer is one option. You might provide extra hands for relatively simple jobs like sorting food or clothing donations, or if you have a particular skill, talent or training, donating your time and expertise could help offset administrative expenses and help the organization operate more efficiently. That ultimately means the organization can more effectively deliver on its mission.
Financial contributions are also a meaningful way to support a worthwhile cause in your community. Writing a check may not feel as personal as getting hands-on to help, but without the support of financial donors, philanthropic organizations simply couldn’t provide the community resources they do. Many organizations will tell you what level of contribution would be most helpful based on their current fundraising needs, and you may have options for a one-time or ongoing gift.
When you’re thinking in terms of how to improve your community, your eating choices may not be on your radar. However, what you eat has a major impact on the community in multiple ways. That’s why you hear a great deal of talk about sustainability directed at food production, which affects the environment in numerous ways along the food supply chain, from air pollution to waste to energy consumption. By choosing ingredients and foods that minimize the impact on the environment, you can show food manufacturers that consumers want products sourced and produced responsibly.
One example is Airly Oat Cloud crackers; each box explains how many grams of carbon dioxide you are helping remove from the air by supporting an innovative farming technique, which makes agriculture a solution, not a contributor, to climate change. Sustainable can be tasty, too. Made with real, wholesome and 100% delicious ingredients, all four flavor varieties (Cheddar, Sea Salt, Chocolate and Salted Caramel) make for satisfying, convenient anytime snacks.
Support Local Businesses
Particularly over the past couple of years, local businesses have fought hard to stay open, modifying their services, adapting to the times and generally trying to keep themselves and their local employees afloat. Rewarding those efforts by shopping in their stores and hiring their services keeps your money within the local community while keeping your friends and neighbors employed.
Those benefits aside, there are practical advantages to doing your shopping locally, such as lower emissions and energy consumption for transportation to and from the store or business. What’s more, businesses that are thriving tend to be stronger corporate citizens, supporting the community’s development and philanthropic needs for a true domino effect.
Clean Up Public Spaces
Beautification projects not only make your community a more inviting place to be, they can actually be good for the earth. Removing litter allows natural vegetation and wildlife to thrive, reduces health risks and promotes safety by sending a clear message that the community cares about its space.
Litter management can spur tourism and economic benefits, as well, since more attractive places attract more people. What’s more, clean-up initiatives bring neighbors together for a shared cause, and that goodwill generally transcends the one-time event to create a greater sense of connectivity among residents.
You can learn more about ways to take personal action to promote a better world at AirlyFoods.com.
A Recipe That Tastes Good While Doing Good
Even the best-tasting desserts can be prepared with thoughtful ingredients and habits that promote sustainability. This Better Than Mama’s Banana Pudding recipe features responsibly sourced products, compostable ingredients and other options to be earth-friendly, including recyclable packaging.
Better Than Mama’s Banana Pudding
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 stick butter, cut into 4 tablespoons
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons vanilla
- 1 box Airly Chocolate or Salted Caramel Crackers
- 4 medium bananas, sliced
- whipped topping (optional)
- In medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk sugar, brown sugar, salt, flour, evaporated milk, milk, butter and eggs continuously until mixture begins to simmer and thicken, 8-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap touching pudding. Let rest 1 hour in refrigerator.
- Layer 8-by-8-inch pan with crackers, reserving some for topping; sliced bananas; and pudding. Repeat layers then top with whipped topping, if desired, and sprinkle with crushed crackers.
Tips: Banana peels and eggshells can be composted. Evaporated milk can and cracker box can be recycled.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images (gardener and volunteers)