“Help me help oth­ers!”

Great news: Do­ing good for oth­ers is also good for you! Mul­ti­ple stud­ies prove that gen­eros­ity is the key to hap­pi­ness. And our pros can help you find the feel-good vol­un­teer gig that’s ex­actly right for you!

Woman's World - - Ask America’s Ultimate Experts - — Nancy Coveney

1 Use your hob­bies to help oth­ers!

Bake for the troops! “When you con­sider how to sup­port a good cause, think about what ac­tiv­i­ties bring you joy, and how you could share that joy with oth­ers,” ad­vises vol­un­teer­ing ex­pert Steven Ketch­pel. “For ex­am­ple, if you love to bake, you can send cook­ies to troops serv­ing over­seas.” As part of the An­gel Bak­ers Team at Soldier­san­gels.org, you can sign up to send home-baked good­ies to ser­vice mem­bers! Share your bounty! If your green thumb has your gar­den over­flow­ing with veg­eta­bles, just go to Am­ple Har­vest. org to find a lo­cal food pantry for your sur­plus! Gar­den­fresh fruits and veg­gies are a real treat for folks eat­ing at food pantries.

Stitch up some love!

En­joy knit­ting or cro­chet­ing? Your tal­ents can warm some­one in need. Find sweet pat­terns (like a su­per-cute Hal­loween pump­kin hat!) to make for ba­bies in in­ten­sive care at The pre­emiepro­ject. com. Or send hats, scarves and blan­kets to Warmu­pamer­ica.org for do­na­tion to home­less shel­ters, vet­er­ans groups and oth­ers.

2 Have fun help­ing our furry friends! Com­fort shel­ter pets!

A soft blan­ket can help a shel­ter an­i­mal feel safe while wait­ing for her for­ever home! You can do­nate blan­kets and other ne­ces­si­ties like tow­els, pet food and treats, to Op­er­a­tion blan­kets Oflove.org. “This kind of project is a good one for fam­i­lies,” ex­plains com­mu­nity vol­un­teer ex­pert Wendy Rhein, “who can re­ally make a dif­fer­ence by do­ing sim­ple things like col­lect­ing blan­kets and tow­els from their neigh­bors. There’s al­ways a need for pet sup­plies!” Raise funds with a click! Want an ef­fec­tive way to raise money for your lo­cal an­i­mal shel­ter? Set up an on­line fundraiser and share it on Face­book. “It’s es­pe­cially good for small, lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions that don’t have the bud­get for a big pub­lic­ity cam­paign,” says fundrais­ing ex­pert Elizabeth Ragland. Just a few clicks is all it takes to set up a page at the free site Crow­drise.org.

Save an­i­mals with your spare change!

Won­der­ing how you can help en­dan­gered an­i­mals that live half­way around the globe? Just take your spare change to a lo­cal Coin­star Cen­ter, pour your coins in the ma­chine and select code # 8888. The money will be do­nated to World­wildlife.org, which helps pro­tect po­lar bears, go­ril­las, tigers and oth­ers!

3 Be a Hal­loween helper! Share your Hal­loween loot!

Stock­ing up on candy for trick-or-treaters? You can pick up some ex­tra bags to brighten Hal­loween for troops over­seas— and mil­i­tary fam­i­lies, vet­er­ans and first re­spon­ders here at home! Op­er­a­tion Grat­i­tude’s “Hal­loween Candy for He­roes” is col­lect­ing unopened candy un­til Novem­ber 15th. And if you have in­di­vid­u­ally pack­aged tooth­brushes, den­tal floss and/or tooth­paste, you can send them along with the candy! Cards and let­ters are wel­come, too! Visit Op­er­a­tion Grat­i­tude. com for de­tails.

Dress ’em up!

Help kids in need have a fright­fully fun Hal­loween by do­nat­ing cos­tumes to Ween­dream.org, which pro­vides new or gen­tly used cos­tumes to kids from tod­dlers to teens in 25 states. Set up a do­na­tion bin and ask friends and co­work­ers for cos­tumes!

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