“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” Helen Keller.
During the recent District 3 meeting in Jacksonville, Resolution #2 essentially mandated the creation of a district wide day of Service.
In conjunction with celebrating our heritage and culture on October 9th by honoring the achievements of Leif Erikson, we will now expand upon our lodge’s ever present commitment to our communities and those less fortunate by not only displaying the usual monetary generosity that we are known for but also focusing a district wide spirit of volunteerism toward making a “New World” or a better and different world. This was the aim for all of our Viking ancestors when they looked to the West.
A quick internet search will lead you to a multitude of ideas, tried and true, that can serve to get the wheels turning for your lodge’s participation in the District 3 effort. Here is just a small sample to get started with.
1.Host a Teddy Bear and Friends Drive
Collect stuffed animals then donate to a homeless shelter for new arrivals. Your local police or fire station might accept this type of donation as well. A teddy bear can bring comfort to children in times of distress.
- Make Hygiene Kits for the Homeless
Homeless people struggle to obtain basic necessities to wash their hands and brush their teeth. Organize your group to collect hotel samples or purchase travel-sized items from a dollar store to complete the kits.
- Safe Passage to School
School crossing guards are not always available at all schools. Work with community and school leaders to increase safe routes for kids to walk or ride bikes to school.
- Green Thumbs Unite
Work with community leaders to adopt a monument. Plant a community garden around it and monitor your plants throughout the year.
- Remember Service Men & Women
Send care packages to deployed troops, veterans, and wounded soldiers. Write a letter of gratitude for their service, and include snack and personal care items. Check out Operation Gratitude and Give 2 The Troops organizations to learn where to send your care packages.
- Best Face Forward
Collect unused make-up, perfume, and other cosmetics for a center for abused women.
- Fight Childhood Diseases
Work together with your local health department to set up an immunization day or clinic to immunize children against childhood diseases. Help promote the event, pitch in to set up and assist with administrative work.
- Bring A Smile to the Homeless
Fill a pair of new socks with granola bars and bottles of water to give to homeless men and women you pass on the street.
- Pitch In For the Elderly
Organize your group to rake leaves, shovel snow, or do housework for elderly neighbors. If you don’t have an elderly neighbor, consider a senior citizens neighborhood community.
- Adopt A Park
Decide on a park to adopt. Grab some trash bags and pick up trash to beautify the park. Getting outside to care for the environment is a great way spend a few hours.
- Care for Furry Ones
Volunteer at an animal shelter to help clean up, play with the animals, groom animals, and walk the dogs. Your time spent here will make the shelter a nicer environment for the furry residents.
- Donate Old Linens to an Animal Shelter
Linen closets are often overloaded with too many worn out items. Donate old bath towels, blankets, and sheets to your local animal shelter. These household items are used for bedding, clean up and keeping the animals warm.
- Read to Senior Citizens
Aging eyes can make it difficult to read fine print. Volunteer to read letters, newspapers or magazines to residents in a local nursing home.
- Book Collection
Collect used magazines, paperbacks, and novels to donate to prisons, jails and shelters. These places are often overlooked when a group is hosting a book drive, but books are so needed at these community places.
- Recycle Old Athletic Shoes
Sneakers can be transformed into sports surfaces like running tracks, baseball fields and basketball courts. Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoeprogram has ground down more than 28 millions pairs of shoes turning them into more than 450,000 sports surfaces around the world. Donate collected sneakers at a Nike Store near you.
- Collect Eyeglasses
Many nonprofit organizations collect old glasses and repurpose them by sending them to people in need. OneSightand Lions Clubs International are two organizations helping in this worthy cause. Research online which group has a location closer to you.
- Stand Up Against Hunger
People struggle with hunger every day. Collect non-perishable food items from neighbors, family and friends and donate to your local food bank. Before collecting items, check out your local food bank’s website to see what items are accepted.
- Toy Drive
Gather used baby and toddler toys from friends, family and neighbors. Donate these items to a nearby church, synagogue, mosque, or temple for their youngest members.
- Help A Child To Read
Become a literacy volunteer to tutor children at your local library or at an afterschool program. It’s worthy of your time to help a child learn one of the most essential life skills.
- Host A Bake-Off
Hit the kitchen and bake up a pile of goodies. Deliver to local police and fire stations as a way of thanking them for their community service.
Our “New World Service Day” will officially take place on Oct 7th, a Friday when business as usual is taking place but as long as your lodge participates on or around Leif Erikson Day, our goals will have been accomplished. Also, please note that our lodge members do not even need to be all together in one place. Voluntary service can take place independently with the lodge orchestrating a coordinated effort.
In the coming weeks I will be reaching out again to all of you to see how your planning is going and to offer encouragement and help in any way I can. I look forward to hearing from as many of you as possible about what your lodges have planned for Leif’s “New World” 2022
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
D3 Fraternal/Foundation Director