I think the title of this post speaks for itself. Growing up I believed that in order to make a difference you had to make a monetary donation or donate food to a local food bank or shelter. What I didn't know at that young age was there are so many ways to make a difference in the lives of those around us. Some are less fortunate, some are fighting an illness, some are just struggling all together.

The woman in the picture below was a wife, daughter, mother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend to so many people. She was the life of every party or gathering. She worked full time, part time, and raised two young ladies. All while fighting Breast Cancer for 17+ years. You would have never known that at the first look at her. Even speaking with her, she barely would mention being sick. Most days she was fine. Of course there were good and bad days. She was my best friend, my hero, my mom. On June 4th 2010 she lost her battle to cancer. I have walked in her memory, fundraised for American Cancer Society & Susan G Komen, and made donations to many friends. That is just the small things that I do in her memory. But I know there is more to be done. She always said someone was fighting a harder battle and that she was lucky. Personally I was lucky to have her for 23 years here and to have learned from the strongest person I know.
I am able to donate money and food; but I have a deeper passion for volunteering and that is because my mother always said give back in ways others can't. Donate your time or services. Helping an elderly couple with their groceries is just as important as making $5 donation. 

Recently at work our store sold the most socks, the #1 requested item for homeless shelters across the country. In a short time frame we sold the most socks and won a contest allowing us to donate a box of socks to a shelter of our choice. As the leader on this project that was a no brainer for me. My aunt works for the state and she would donate them to the shelter. Sure the employees also received a pair of socks for winning but the million socks donated to the homeless shelter makes them the winner. So if you have extra items laying around this winter season and you won't use them donate them. Or better yet visit the shelter and see how you can be of assistance even if it's just for a half hour. You would be surprised at what skills they could use. 

That's my motto this year. I want to commit to volunteering at least twice a month. How will you give back this year?


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