Wrapping Up 2020 & Giving Back in 2021

| Par Christine Moghadam

Wrapping Up 2020 & Giving Back in 2021

2020 was a challenging year, wasn’t it? We had to rethink our priorities and find different ways to fight for the causes we believe in. But 2021 is just around the corner and it brings a new opportunity to be thankful for the good things and to find new ways of giving back to our community and our planet.

Our first suggestion is to find inspiration in the cork oak tree! This tree gives us cork and they naturally absorb up to 20 million tons of CO2, while reducing greenhouse gases. These forests are also the home of several species and they can live up to 200 years, showing that giving back can help you stay healthy and strong!

We prepared 17 different ways that you can help way beyond donating money. Are you ready to choose? 

1. Donate

Check those items that you don’t use for more than 6 months and give them a chance to live a second life:

  • Clothes: start by giving 2 pieces of clothing or a pair of shoes you no longer use;
  • Old appliances. In case they are not working, sending them for repair before donating;
  • Furniture and kitchenware;
  • Workwear can be very helpful for people trying to find a job.

2. Adopt a new eco-friendly habit

Are you a king or queen of sustainability? Hurray! But did you already check if there is a new habit you can learn to save even more water or energy? Or maybe you can share your tips to inspire others! If you are giving your first environmental steps, you can start by reusing a glass jar or by picking up garbage on your morning walk. 

3. Share a story

Have you heard about bookcrossing? You leave a book you’ve already read in a public space and someone will read it as you did. You can also make a book donation to a local library. 

While reading a book feels great, reading them out loud can be even greater! Telling stories to children or even to blind people can make them travel on their own imagination, guided by your voice. How beautiful is this idea?

4. Join a movement

Choose the right cause you would like to support. You can participate in the events or set up a digital crowdfunding campaign. 

There are smaller ways to join a cause too. Gather a couple of people close to you and suggest spending a different Saturday doing a cleanup activity.

5. Pick a yoga class with a purpose

    At Corc Yoga, we often host yoga classes linked to a meaningful purpose. You can help just by participating or you can host one if you are a yoga teacher. 

    If you are a fan of other sports, you can also help to organize a local race, for example. There are always so many tasks in such events: handing out drinks, helping with administrative matters, etc. If you are feeling creative, you can suggest a theme for the event and prepare the material to spread your idea.

    6. Be a volunteer

      You just need to spare 1 or 2 hours per week and you can make a big difference:

      • Play cards or realize some entertaining activities in a local senior center or nursing home;
      • Prepare a meal and coordinate it with the organizing team of a local shelter;
      • Several animal shelters could use your help to maintain the space clean and healthy or even to just walk or pet them for a couple of hours; 
      • Participating in the daily tasks of a local organization, food bank or any other charity organization can help those who are permanently involved;
      • What about digital volunteering? From the comfort of your couch you can create and post social media content for a cause you fight for;
      • Volunteering abroad can be great if you can spare a couple of weeks. There are many interesting projects everywhere and it can be an enriching experience for yourself too;
      • Promote a different working day and schedule a volunteer day with your colleagues.

      7. Support brands that give back

        Whenever you have to buy something you need or to offer to someone, choose sustainable brands and you will be contributing to the mission behind them.

        For instance, when choosing Corc Yoga products, you are supporting fair wages, local and ethically made production in Portugal. Also, for every product sold, we donate a percentage to our youth mental health partners: Desafio Jovem in Portugal and The Youth Mental Health Project in the USA.

        8. Plant a tree

        Do you have a garden where you can plant a tree? Maybe a tree is a little too big, but becoming a plant owner can also be a delightful option! You can also consider creating a blooming corner in an unclaimed public space near your home.  

        Being a member of a community garden is also a great way of giving back to nature. The reward comes in the shape of some fresh vegetables in return. 

        9. Become a blood donor

          If you fit the requirements for blood donation, it may take only 15 minutes to help to save lives. Donating long hair is also possible under certain circumstances. Check how to turn that makeover you wish to do into a kind gesture.

          10. Adopt an animal

            If you have the right conditions to welcome a furry friend in your house, walk down to the nearest animal shelter, and adopt a cat or a dog. But if you can’t have a pet, you can also buy food, blankets, or finance certain needs like surgeries or medicine. 

            There is also the option to adopt a wild animal or endangered species through some organisations. While doing so, you are protecting them from hunting and keeping them safe in their habitats. 

            11. Tutor a student

              Apply your knowledge and help a student to understand and improve his school grades with some tutoring lessons. 

              If you are not so updated on the current school curriculum, there is no problem.  Sometimes, kids just need some help to be concentrated in their general homework. In this case, the most important thing is to be there for them to feel supported and confident that they can do their tasks.

              12. Cook a vegan recipe

                Trying a vegan, vegetarian, or other plant-based diet is not only very tasty but it strengthens a community of healthy people that put the planet first on their priorities. 

                13. Leave a destination better than before

                  Take sustainability to the next level on your future trips. Pick up souvenirs from local artisans, choose eating regional food, and take a reusable bottle of water with you. meeting a group of local people is one of the best ways to meet their culture. Join them for a cleanup day and leave no trace behind you but great memories of your trip. 

                  14. Share your skills

                    Pick a brush and help to paint a house of an elderly couple or join in the creation of a community mural. If you are more into writing, what do you think of helping unemployed people to do their CVs and motivation letters to find the right job?

                    Each of us is one of a kind and for sure there is a place where our unique skills can make a difference. 

                    15. Write a letter 

                      What about bringing this old school habit back to our routine? You can share how thankful you are for something that a person taught you. Or just write a letter to reconnect with an old friend. There are also some initiatives where you can write letters for someone on the other side of the world or to hospitalized patients. 

                      16. Make a wish come true

                        Have you ever heard one of your relatives sigh and say “I would love to do or learn that”? You can organize it for them. Whether it is to help them learn how to play guitar, to fix a broken shelf. There are so many things we can help each other to fulfill our to-do lists.

                        You can also jump higher in realizing the dreams of hospitalized children through some charity organizations.

                        17. Just ask

                          Giving back can start with a single question “how can I help”. In fact, if you are reading this article, you already took your first giving back step, which is amazing!

                          Also, these are great suggestions, right? But if you need some help in choosing where to start, we will have a creative way to do so! Stay tuned.

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