People who choose to serve others in volunteer and paid capacities help make the world a better place. Without their aid, a wide range of important programs designed to promote growth, stability and protection for people and the environment at community, county, state and federal levels might never be available to the public. Community management and infrastructure would also destabilize in many areas. Most people don’t have the time or flexibility to devote themselves service beyond the community level. Given that some villages and towns lack the funds to hire everyone they need for public service programs and positions, you can effortlessly find plenty of ways to serve your community locally:

Help the Library 

Although some people think that internet and communication technologies have made libraries obsolete, these institutions continue to benefit those who don’t have access to certain technological and other resources. They also offer more than reference materials. Community libraries often provide meeting spaces for career workshops, job fairs, children’s programs, arts and crafts classes and business meetings. Some libraries even supply critical emergency event updates to locals. Serving your community by helping its library might involve part-time volunteering as a circulation desk clerk, hosting workshops and classes or mentoring students. Libraries also need board members to help make important decisions and manage budget matters. Your library might have or need a Friends of the Library group who donates money or helps procure donations, advocates for the library, promotes it offline and online or aids in brainstorming new programs and fundraising methods. If you live in a small town that doesn’t have a library, you might serve your community best by founding a book club or setting up a free book exchange.

Donate Blood 

Blood shortages in hospitals, urgent care clinics and other emergency centers can result in people failing to receive medical care in a timely fashion. According to the American Red Cross, a single blood donation can save as many as three people, and only a small portion of the population, less than 38 percent, can actually donate. For a patient who has a rare blood type, a blood donation from someone with the same type can literally save their life. Blood donations also aid medical researchers. Donated blood turned into leukopaks that contain a variety of blood cells help researchers study and treat diseases. Even if you have an illness that prevents you from donating blood for emergency use, you can still serve members of your community by donating for research studies. The donation can be used to compare diseases, create drug therapies and build statistical models. It can also be frozen for future research.

Join Local Government 

Every community needs leaders and administrators who handle important decisions and tasks that help the community prosper. You can serve at the top as a town or borough council leader, school board member or public works manager. In one of these positions, you might help create a budget, decide where to allocate funds for infrastructure repairs and upgrades, head committees for planning events or help create procedures and processes for emergencies. Of course, serving as a leader isn’t the only way you can join local government. You might volunteer your time to help spread awareness about upcoming events or survey community members to get their opinions about possible changes brought to the area by government and businesses leaders. You can also join in by simply showing up at public meetings where community members are asked to voice their opinions. For example, you might speak out against a particular change or offer a recommendation about a topic that isn’t yet under consideration.

Get Creative

Lastly, there are a wide range of ways you can serve that tap into your creativity. For example, if you’re good at teaching or art, you might offer free education or art classes at the library or community center or set up or volunteer at a community theater. If no physical theater exists, you might create a theater club that performs at a local school. Also, keep in mind that creativity doesn’t necessarily mean involvement with the arts. You might clean up trash from the local streets and parks when you have time or create a group dedicated to making the community look its best. You might help set up or promote clothing and food drives or merely donate clothes and food as an individual. If you have a background in construction, you might volunteer free public building repairs or offer similar services to residents who can’t afford to pay for home structural repairs. Another possibility: If you live in a region that experiences harsh winters, you might offer to build warming shelters.

You don’t need to perform big actions either to serve your community in some capacity. You can still perform small acts that help others. For example, consider visiting an elderly or sick neighbor who lives alone to brighten their day or sending uplifting postcards to random community members. The sky’s the limit.