America is a great nation because it is built from the ground up one community at a time. A local community can be a neighborhood in a major urban city or a small town in the middle of an agricultural state.


Communities thrive and are deeply enriched when the people who live in them get involved in local activities. That most often means volunteering one’s time or stepping up to take on civic responsibility, such as serving on a school board or agreeing to take your shift on a volunteer fire department.


How do you get involved in your community? It’s not complicated but it can take some motivation and willingness to give up watching TV every night or doing only the activities that give yourself enjoyment.


Every community has needs. For example, even locations with a good economic climate may have food-insecure families. Donating food to the local food bank is easy, takes just minutes and you’ll be helping a hungry kid get a proper meal. But you could go step further and volunteer to work at the food bank location, say, one night a month. You might also volunteer to do their accounting or help with cleaning the facility.


The number of long-established nonprofit and civic organizations to join are almost endless. Examples are the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the Lions Club, a church group, Friends of the Library or the local chapter of the Red Cross blood drive committee. All of these kinds of organizations need help from volunteers. They all do good work that you can feel good about doing.


Small towns are especially keen on encouraging people to “shop locally.” Rather than driving to the nearest large city that has a major department chain store, support local mom-and-pop shops with your dollars.


Environmental projects are always looking for volunteers. Many states, for example, have “lake associations.” These are groups who work to maintain clean water, remove trash and prevent soil erosion/pesticide/herbicide runoff into area lakes.


Programs that help senior citizens are growing in demand as the American population ages, especially in small towns. Delivering meals to seniors in their homes, running errands for them or helping them tidy up their homes is a wonderful thing to do.