At Orange Insoles, we’re pretty entrenched in our local community and we love giving back whenever we can. But we’re also an online company who is part of a much bigger community. So, we wanted to share some ways that, no matter where you are, you can give back to the community you live in. Because community is important and we know that you can’t feel better and do more without the people around you.
If you want to get involved and give back, here are some great places to start.
Boys Girls Club of America
The Boys and Girls Clubs have an organizations in most cities and are a great place to look if you want to give back to the youth in your community. The Boys and Girls Club aims to, “enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” They do this through programs and by recruiting mentors who can work with their students. That’s where you come in. You can volunteer your time at a local Club. Whether you help with homework, coach a game, or teach an art project, you’ll have the opportunity to build healthy relationships with young people eager for adult guidance, and have a positive impact on their lives.
Feed Your Community
If you want to help the homeless or those who struggle to afford to eat, you can volunteer at a local soup kitchen, shelter, or food bank. Depending on which you choose, you’ll use your time differently but either way you’ll be filling a need (51% of food programs rely entirely on volunteers!). In a soup kitchen or shelter you can help cook hot meals or help clean up. At a food bank, you’ll help organize the distribution of donated foods to the families that need it most. Either way, you’re helping those in need meet their most basic needs.
High Five Turkey Drive
This year’s opportunity has already past, but if you’re in the Midwest, there’s always next year! Every year, the Midwest Independent Retailers Foundation Turkey Drive Committee pledges to put a turkey on the Thanksgiving table of more than 6,000 families throughout Michigan, Ohio and Illinois that may not otherwise enjoy this special meal. To participate in this event you can donate your time, money (a $300 donation provides a Thanksgiving meal for 20 families), or canned goods and food. This is a great example of business owners giving back to their communities (we definitely participate every year!) and you can get involved, too.
Buy Products that Give Back
There are so many wonderful organizations that give back those in need every time you buy something you probably already need. The next time you’re looking to purchase clothes, research companies with a social mission.
Internationally, the well-known brand, TOMS, is a great place to start. TOMS started by giving away one pair of shoes for every pair purchased. Today, they’ve expanded their mission. “While shoes can have a big impact, 13 years of using business to improve lives has taught us that giving shoes and grants can have an even bigger impact. So, moving forward, TOMS will dedicate at least one-third of our net annual profits to a giving fund managed by our very own Giving Team. We'll then distribute shoes and grants according to an annual investment plan that reflects the needs of the organizations we partner with, as well as the causes you care about most.”
They’re also our favorite shoe to slip some Orange Lights into. They’re good-looking shoes and their mission immediately caught our attention!
More locally, the Detroit-based York Project started much in the same way as TOMS. For every hat purchased, they donated one to the local homeless community. While they started with just hats (out of Michigan State University), today they sell a whole line of sustainably sourced clothing. All their clothes are made in Detroit and for every garment purchased they donate an essential kit to a person experiencing homelessness. They hold monthly donation events.
Keeping your community looking good can be a great way to help it thrive. Curb appeal and a clean look can help make cities more appealing to those thinking about moving or bringing a business there. Start one yourself or just get on Facebook and start searching for opportunities organized by your neighbors to help keep your community beautiful.
Neighborhood cleanups are a great way to get the whole family involved and teach your kids or grandkids about the importance of giving back. Take the whole family out on a Saturday or Sunday and end your weekend with a sense of accomplishment. Or, check out organizations like Project Giving Kids who make it their entire mission to teach kids empathy and social responsibility!
There are so many ways to give back in your community it’s hard to list them all here. These are just a few ways to get involved but don’t forget, if you really want to make sure your community thrives from your investments, make sure to buy local!