Give back this year

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Let’s backtrack to New Year’s Eve.

This may be a little hazy for some of you, but not to worry: The actual events of that night are irrelevant, including the Cinderella smooch you received at the stroke of midnight. Remember the part of the night when you were dressed to impress, making a lot of promises that you’ve already failed to keep? The plans you had to become a better person, work out, eat well, quit smoking, and maybe even study more?

For those of you who find these resolutions as blurry as your night, you are not alone. Very few people successfully keep up with their future improvement plans, including myself.
So here’s an idea. Rather than pout on the couch about the holiday weight gain, recycle the resolution list you haven’t picked up in the last 20 days and start fresh. Forget focusing on impractical self-enhancements, grab a Post-it, and jot down some simple ways you can help others.

If are unable to locate a pen, here are a few popular and easy ways to help the needy:

1. The recent earthquake in Haiti has left survivors in desperate need of food and water. World Relief, as well as many other organizations, have begun fundraisers to help feed the hungry. Every two dollars donated feeds one person two hot meals in Port-au-Prince. World Relief also invites you to spend a minute praying for those devastated every Tuesday at 4:53 p.m.–the same time the earthquake hit–wherever you may be.

2. Feeding America is one of the world’s largest hunger-relief programs. It provides food to over 25 million Americans.  If you can spare a few dollars, or a few cans of food to local food banks, then this is an easy way to help your neighbors in need.

3. Habitat for Humanity is a housing ministry that seeks to eliminate poverty by building and providing affordable houses for low-income families around the world. Those interested in helping out can donate money online or donate their time by helping build shelters in local areas.

4. The American Red Cross has an abundance of volunteer opportunities. Giving blood is one of the many. Currently, three out of every hundred Americans donate blood. However, every minute someone needs blood somewhere. So find a blood drive near you.

5. No longer in need of your ugly Christmas sweater? Or those tacky shoes your aunt sent you? Then donate your unwanted or old clothing to Goodwill.

These are just a small number of organizations that work to help others near and far. If you can’t stick to your new diet or exercise regime, give volunteering a try. Let others reap the benefits this year, and you’ll discover how rewarding it feels to have played a part in a bigger picture. As a whole, we can reform our selfish habits and revive the world one step at a time. 

Aesop, a famous Greek fable author once said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” These words remain true. So whether you are holding a door for a stranger or donating food and clothing to the homeless, remember this:
Better luck with your new give list, and best wishes for the new year.

Jordan Jennings is a sophomore journalism major. She can be reached for comment at jjennings@smu.edu.

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