4 Easy Ways to Make a Difference in Charleston (When the World Feels Overwhelming)

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Like many of you, I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed with the state of the world right now. Things feel big and scary. I want to do something to make things better, but it’s hard to know what to do when the issues that I’m worried about are so much bigger than I am. 

When bad things happen in the country, I try to focus my energy locally. If there are things that I can do right here in Charleston that make a difference, it helps me feel like I can spread some good in the world.

Here are four easy things you can do locally to make a positive impact on our Charleston community:

  • Sweep the beach We all love our Charleston beaches and want to protect them. A super easy way to make a difference (and to actually see the impact you’re having) is to sweep the beach! Grab some trash bags, gloves, and maybe some trash grabbers, and go for a leisurely stroll along the beach. You will be shocked at how much trash is out there when you start looking for it! Bonus: this is a really fun, educational, and EASY way to involve your kids in giving back to your community. Double bonus: It’s free to do!
  • Donate to your school teacher’s Amazon wishlist Back to school is right around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to put your money in the hands of people who have the greatest impact on your kids: their teachers. You’ve probably seen “Clear the List” initiatives all over Instagram. Why not “clear the lists” of teachers in your own school? I posted yesterday on our elementary school’s community Facebook page asking for teachers to share the links to their wishlists. I received a ton of responses and so many of the teachers were just grateful that I even asked. Now the lists are published in a public space and families can start to make purchases for these incredible teachers. Personally, I looked at a couple of the lists, found something that I thought was fun or that my kids would be excited to see in a classroom (hello Pokemon stickers), and made the purchase. In total, I probably spent less than $50, but I was able to fulfill items off of multiple teacher’s lists.
  • Stock your local Blessing Box  If you haven’t donated to a Lowcountry Blessing Box near you, I really encourage it. Blessing Boxes are anonymous donation sites stocked with non-perishable food items and basic toiletries — basically, anything that someone else might need that won’t go bad in the Charleston summer heat (no clothes or toys though). Those who need it can visit a Blessing Box and anonymously take what they need. Every couple of months, I go through our own pantry to see what unopened items I bought at the store that we just aren’t eating that someone else might love. Think canned goods, pasta, rice, packaged snacks, etc. Just make sure that the food is not expired. I’ve also brought my boys to the store with the purpose of buying items just to fill the Blessing Box. I love teaching them about giving back to our community! 
  • Donate books to the libraryHave your kids outgrown some of their books? Donate them to the Charleston County Public Library system! They accept donations of gently-used books, magazines, and AV materials. If you love your local library as much as we do, this is a really easy way to support them. Plus, reducing the clutter in your house will probably make you feel better too.

What else can we do locally to make an impact? I’d love to hear your ideas! Leave a comment below and let me know of other ways I can get involved!

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