I thought I'd start a thread so we can post ideas to help others. Not everyone has a thousand dollars to plunk down at Kmart to pay off someone's lay away bill, but there are lots of low cost to free opportunities that let us all serve others in our communities. I was hoping we could post some up and share ideas. Here's a few of the projects I've been involved in: Just after the holidays each year animal shelters fill up with pets that were given as gifts and the shelters become overwhelmed. When I worked at a middle school, (I was the staff admin of the school's environmental club) the month before the holiday break each year we ran a "Pet Food Drive for the Holidays." We took in so much pet food, blankets, old pet crates, leashes, dog bowls, etc. it was insane. The shelters loved getting in all the extras and in the later years a staff member would appear on our school video channel with one of the pets to thank the kids. One year we collected over 3,000 items! The local Petsmarts, food stores, etc. would always put aside their near to expiring foods and donate a chunk as well. I'd be sure one of the kids who needed some extra "pats on the back" would be assigned to pick up the bulk food so they'd get some extra bravos Another project I'm involved in is with a group of friends. We save up all year and a few weeks before the holidays we have a scavenger hunt for animal supplies. We all set off early in the day of our hunt and spend about 6 hours searching out second hand stores for pet carriers, old sheets and blankets that are so desperately needed by local shelters. We meet up at 5 pm and compare hauls. Whomever we deem the "Shopper of the Day" gets her dinner that night paid for by the rest of us. It's a fun day and we always have a wonderful dinner and lots of laughs (we have special mention for goofiest blanket, weirdest sheet pattern, worst towel color, etc. When my kids were young I was a single mom and we lived paycheck to paycheck so we didn't have the money to help others but we always found ways to pitch in as I wanted "helping others" to be an integral part of my kids' foundations. So, we cleaned out the toy chests and closets on Black Friday each year and donated toys, clothes, etc. to organizations to help the poor in our communities (anyone in the Orlando area: Boys Town in Oviedo is a fabulous program). We also helped serve community dinners to the poor and my kids always had Christmas Caroling nights where everyone would bring a plate of their Mom's best cookies and I made a huge pot of hot chocolate. They would collect for the Catholic Missions. One of the fathers would match whatever they collected and most years we averaged about $800. It became a huge event and we'd often have 30-40 kids. I printed out the words to the songs so everyone had them I miss those days.