It’s that time of year again. The New Year resolutions will be flowing and if you are anything like me they’ll be broken by the end of week one. I’m serious! This year I’m doing something a little different. Together as a family, we will pay it forward. I want to teach my kids about being charitable, to give freely without expecting anything in return, I want to teach my kids to be the change they want to see in the world. This year we will be donating our time, money, clothes and even hair… Fancy joining in? Here’s a list of 25 ways you can pay it forward this year, the possibilities are endless!
- Spread a little ‘Sunshine Power’ and gather up as many used batteries as you can and donate them to fund vital equipment for Children’s Sunshine Home & LauraLynn House.
- I had hoped to bring the Big Kid along to the DSPCA to help clean out the kennels and bring the doggies at a dog shelter on a walk but apparently you need to 16 for insurance reasons.the DSPCA are always on the lookout for dog treatment centre volunteers as well as people to help out at the Dog Rehoming Centre, Cattery and Education Department.
- I’ve lost count of the number of homeless shelters in Ireland. Take your pick, help out at soup kitchen, donate clothes or volunteer at a homeless shelter.
- Become a blood or platelets donor. And before anyone says I know there are so many reasons why you cannot donate, myself included. Blood is in constant demand and it will take no more than five minutes to find out if you are eligible to donate.
- Handy wit a sewing box? You could knit or crochet hats, cardigans, and quilts for premature babies in NICU. Many neonates are too small for conventional baby clothing and as soon as the infant’s medical condition permits clothing, families often find it difficult to source suitable garments. On World Prematurity Day, November 17th, the INHA delivers hampers of clothing and quilts to the Irish Neonatal Intensive Care Units across Ireland so you’ve loads of time to get crocheting.
- Visit a nursing home and spend some time with its residents, there’s sure to be one who would love the company.
- Another lovely and simple way to pay it forward next time you’re out having dinner in town is to skip dessert and buy an extra meal and give it to a homeless person instead.
- When doing your next shop skip on the sweet treats and buy some cat or dog food and donate it to your local animal shelter. Also most shelters accepts old blankets and cuddly toys for their residents, it’s always worth checking before you bin or bag them up for the charity shop run.
- Another one for the knitters and crocheters. Why not make an incubator cover for a baby in NICU. Incubator covers are a supportive measure to minimise the environmental effects of light and noise on premature infants developing brain. It could also be a new hobby or skill to learn if you have never knit or crocheted before.
- Convert your wedding dress or child’s communion dresses into angel gowns. Many of the babies who pass away in NICU are too tiny for conventional baby clothing so the Irish Neonatal Health Alliance have enlisted sewers to turn these beautiful dresses into angel gowns which are then delivered to the NICU’s and offered to those families whose babies don’t survive.
- My big kid has just announced she’s going to let her beloved hair grow all next year and donate it to the Rapunzel Foundation, a wonderful organisation that works to improve the lives of those living with hair loss. The hair needs to be a minimum of 14 inches long so she may have awhile to got yet… but the thought is there!
- Join a freecycle group. I’m a member of a couple and it’s so lovely to see all the mums helping each other out when in need. There’s loads of Facebook groups, just pop Freecyle and your county into the search bar.
- Konmari the clothes and donate them to charity, an easy pay it forward that the kids can get involved with too and you’ll free up so much room around your home too.
- And while you are dropping off your unwanted clothes why not have a little look around the charity shop. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, you just never know what you might find
- Breastfeeding mums can donate milk to the Milk Bank for neonatal babies all over Ireland. The best time to contact the milk bank is towards the end of your pregnancy or when your little nursling is a few weeks old. I missed out as my little one is almost six months old but I’ve opted to donate my milk to a mum who is unable to feed due to medical reasons. This is my first pay it forward of the new year. Check out Human Milk 4 Human Babies if you are interested in donating your milk.
- If you have books you no longer want or need you could donate them to your local hospital. Tallaght Hospital, for example, has a volunteer library service, an invaluable service for patients who like to read. The library trolley visits the wards four times a week offering books and a chat with patients.
- Have a root through your cupboards and gather up any old phones and recycle them by sending them to Bee for Battens, an Irish based charity that provides care and support to all the children in Ireland affected by Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (NCL), commonly known as Battens Disease.
- Another beautiful way to pay it forward is to hold a fundraiser for a charity close to your heart. You could hold a bake sale, sell old toys, clothes or even do a sponsored walk.
- Can you spare an hour a week? If so you could provide companionship to an isolated older person through a weekly volunteer visit with charity ALONE. ALONE welcomes volunteers from all backgrounds, cultures and ethnicity as they believe in the importance of being representative of the whole community and appreciate the value that this diversity brings.
- Hold a Cheerio’s Childline breakfast in your kid’s school or creche or you could host an Ice-Cream Funday party in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland (2017 info. TBA).
- You can do sponsored walks like Darkness Into Light, Runamuck, Women’s Mini Marathon and the Simon Fun Run.
- Would you give the Jacket Off Your Back? They are not currently collecting jackets but it’s a charity to watch out for in the new year!
- Drop in on an elderly neighbour is a lovely way to pay it forward, make sure they have everything they need. I’m sure they’d love a chat and a cuppa too.
Have you nappies or toiletries you no longer need? Drop them off at your local woman’s refuge centre or to the St. Vincent De Paul.
- In November you can join us on our annual pay it forward activity by joining in and creating a Christmas shoe box for a child in need.
- And finally, the easiest one of all, when someone says they owe you a favour ask them to pay it forward instead.
Sometimes we forget and our kids too how lucky we are so we’ll be picking one of the above each month to do together as a family this year, why don’t you join us and do it too. Happy New Year everyone and thanks for sticking around and reading my rants and rambles for the past year! Oh and if you have any simple and easy ways to pay it forward please add them in the comments below so others can scan through them too!