10 Ways To Give Back To Harlem That Does Not Cost You, One Penny

One common misconception people have about charity and giving back is that it’s only for those who’ve got a lot to spare.

But giving back doesn’t necessarily involve shelling out thousands of dollars. You can help people even if you don’t have millions in your bank account Of Soup Kitchen writes.

OSK continues, when helping people, what really matters is the intent. Anyone can give out cash. But it takes someone who truly cares to make a real difference. So if you want to help, don’t let your financial situation prevent you from doing so.

Here are some ways you can give back to Harlem even if you’re not rich:

1. Help a Neighbor Out

One of the first things you can do to give back to your community is to help a neighbor in need. Whether it’s an edlerly neighbor who needs help across the street or helping them with the groceries, there are a lot of ways you can help your neighbor out.

Even just sharing some of your home-cooked food with them would be a huge help especially if you know that they’re struggling. Any gesture of kindness will surely be appreciated and go a long way.

2. Volunteer at a Local Charity

Every community usually has local charities. This means that there are plenty of volunteering opportunities to help people in need.

Nonprofits like homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and Harlem Food Pantry are often in need of an extra pair of hands. Ask around to see if there are any calls for volunteers. Or you can also visit in person the organization itself to see if they need some help.

3. Organize a Fundraiser

You may not have the funds to support the cause or charity you care about. But you can always rally together with the community to raise funds.


Organizing a fundraiser activity may take a lot of time. But you can always do simple ones like a community bake sale, a weekend yard sale, or a charity car wash. What matters most is to unite the community for a common cause.

4. Plant a Tree

Trees are undoubtedly one of the most underrated things on this planet. They not only provide us with oxygen and wood for our building needs. But they also protect us from floods and other ecological disasters.

So if you plant a tree today, you’re ensuring the future of future generations. And that’s one of the greatest gifts you can give to the community.

5. Donate Used Stuff

If you have clothes, shoes, blankets, furniture, or books that you’re not using anymore, donate them to your local charity. Most homeless shelters and soup kitchens accept gently used items. Some even organize donation drives on a regular basis.

Or if there are no local charities near you, you can also give it to your neighbor or anyone you know who can use those items.

6. Spread Good News

The good news is like precious artifacts nowadays. They’re so rare, you can practically put them up for auction. So rather than spreading rumors and malicious gossip about someone, start spreading good news instead. You won’t only foster good relations with your neighbors, you’ll also help brighten their day too.

7. Organize a Community Clean-up

Aside from bringing the community together, community clean-up drives like Team Clean in West Harlem also help ensure your hood’s livability. Plus, it teaches young children the value of maintaining a clean environment.

8. Recycle

In some places, recycling is a mandate rather than an option. But if your community doesn’t have ordinances about recycling yet, then it’s time that someone starts doing it. You can even inspire your neighbors to do it too. Or better yet, organize an information campaign around your community about the benefits of recycling.

9. Support Local Businesses

With the economy as it is, many small businesses are currently struggling. As such, getting support from the local community would be a huge help.

Instead of getting everything from Walmart or Target, shop at the local farmer’s market like at Grow NYC in Harlem. They offer fresh produce straight from the farmers themselves. Their organic products are generally cheaper than the grocery stores too.

10. Join a Community Garden

Participating in community gardening initiatives like Jennys Garden in West Harlem has a lot of benefits. For one, you’ll help the community gain better access to fresh foods and increase food security. Plus, it’s an opportunity to teach kids about the importance of eating healthy and growing their own food.

On a personal level, gardening and being out in the sun can also help boost your overall mental well-being. So if you’re feeling down lately, pick up your spade and head on to your community garden.

These are just some of the things you can do for your community. At the end of the day, it’s your intent and commitment to better the lives of others that will make all the difference.

If you have any ideas on how readers can give back to Harlem at no cost let us know at hwmag.

Photo credit: 1-2) Harlem Grown. 3) NYC.gov.

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