How to give back to our community

Galen Eye Centre

A guide for time-and-cash-strapped students

Donation box on campus
Photo: 

Between our midterms, readings, intramurals, social lives and the occasional episode of Netflix, it may seem like you have no time to give back to the community. It’s also really challenging to find ways to contribute to your favourite causes when there’s no room in your budget for donating money. 

Rest assured, there are many great ways to create positive change and meaningfully contribute to the things you’re most passionate about, all while having fun and making friends along the way. 

If you’re low on time:

Are you like me and put all of your change into a piggybank so you don’t have to hear it jingling around in your pockets? Do you inevitably forget about it too? Put those 18 quarters, 24 dimes and 11 nickels to good use and give them away. Look for donation bins in restaurants, stores, and when November rolls around, poppy boxes. Every little bit helps.

As for the money in your wallets, put it to good use by repping your favourite causes with some cool merch. This purchase will double as a responsible way to spend your money (who doesn’t need clothes?) and will also be free promotion for the organization you support. Check out the website of a charity you like or a local political group. Odds are, most of the proceeds from your purchase will directly support them. It’s a win-win.

If you’re low on cash:

This one’s easy. Why not volunteer your time — it’s free. There are literally countless ways to lend a helping hand to those who need it most. Great opportunities in the Kingston area include volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club, the Humane Society or Martha’s Table (a free-of-charge restaurant for those who may not otherwise have a way to feed themselves). Even if you only have a spare hour or two, every bit counts.

If you’re looking for a cause to contribute to, new friends and things to add to your resume, a great place to start is by being involved in the various humanitarian clubs on campus. There are tons of groups on campus focusing on practically every cause and special interest under the sun. Check out clubs like Queen’s Room to Read or the QU Blood Team. You’ll find many ways to give back and meet plenty of like-minded people.

If you’re low on both:

Decluttering is a (basically) free way to find things to donate to charities, shelters and organizations who need it most. Get rid of those hats you never wear, an ugly scarf you got for your birthday or those questionable clothes you still have from your early years of high school. Go through your pantry shelves as well for those (unopened and non-perishable) food items you never got around to eating. 

Once your wardrobes and cupboards are cleared, get the word out on social media. This one’s totally free and definitely won’t take more than a few minutes.

Regardless of your financial situation or hectic schedule, if you’re passionate about a cause, there’s always a way to give back to your community.

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