Some of the most meaningful gifts I’ve received from others in difficult times have been in the form of their thoughtfully meeting my basic needs or giving me their time.
The positive change you want to see in your community starts with you, and the trick is to stop and deeply consider what gesture or gift
will impact those we care about.
This month we’re challenging you to try some of our top 20 ideas for creative and meaningful gifts that will allow you to be catalysts for positive change in your world. One simple act of kindness can make more of a difference than you know.
Don’t forget to share with us on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SydneyHillsLiving/) which ideas you’ve tried or been the beneficiary of and how it’s making the Hills an even better place to live.

The top 20

  1. Offer to babysit while another couple attends a date night or special event.
  2. Make a little care pack full of someone’s favourite snacks, magazines and tea, and deliver it to them in hospital (perhaps they’ve had a baby or are in for a few days of surgery).
  3. Accompany someone who needs your help getting to the grocery store, the park or social activities.
  4. Write thank-you cards to your child’s teachers, your local police station and fire brigade.
  5. The next time you visit the drive-thru, pay for your meal and the meal of the person behind you. Or anonymously pay for someone else’s meal at a restaurant/cafe.
  6. Drop a bunch of flowers and a thank-you note into the nail artist or hairdresser who looks after you regularly to show your appreciation for the relaxing moments you have there.
  7. Write a letter to the manager of a retail store to tell them about great service you have had from a staff member who looked after you. It’ll encourage them to be great service providers.
  8. Make activity kits for children living in shelters for the homeless or abused, or the local children’s hospital ward.
  9. Donate blood to a local blood bank.
  10. Pick up rubbish in the park, at school, or as you walk along the footpath.
  11. Volunteer with a local community or not-for-profit group or event as a pair of helping hands.
  12. Offer to run errands for an elderly or sick neighbour or family member.
  13. Use your skills to sew, knit, craft, sing or read stories to support people in need in your community, or to be sold at a stall at a charity event.
  14. Offer to feed your neighbours’ pets while they are away on holiday and collect their mail.
  15. Put your shopping trolley back into the trolley bay and grab a few strays along your way and return them too.
  16. Drop a short letter into your neighbours’ letterboxes before holding a big party to let them know about it and apologise in advance for the extra noise that might occur.
  17. Actively give people honest compliments — if you like the dress or scarf someone is wearing let them know that you do and that it suits them.
  18. People aren’t the only ones who need help. Animals do too. If you’re an animal lover you might feel right at home at an animal shelter, helping to feed, brush and play with all the animals awaiting good homes.
  19. With donation opportunities everywhere, this is one volunteer opportunity that couldn’t be easier. Drop off your old clothes at a goodwill centre instead of selling them. Buy an extra bag of groceries and drop it off at a “Stuff a Bus” or can drive site. Drop off extra supplies to nursing homes, women’s shelters, homeless shelters or schools.
  20. Do you enjoy writing? Most charities and non-profits have to send emails and newsletters and update their websites on a regular basis. If there’s an organisation in your area that you’re a big fan of, why not call and see if they could use some help? After the initial phone call, you can probably do all of your volunteering from home on your couch by email only or after business hours. ❐

Highlight On: Hills Community Care

Hills Community Care (established in 1991) offers an extensive range of support services across the Hills to the frail, aged, and people with a disability or dementia. They also provide support programs for carers who struggle with managing paid employment with unpaid caring.

When maintaining links with friends and the community becomes difficult, their Social Day Programs are the answer to help people to stay active socially in their local community.

But this is also an opportunity to volunteer for those who don’t need their services themselves, as they need lots of people to help run tasks and activities such as:
• Transporting people to and from programs
• Running planned activities
• Helping at monthly outings
• Providing companionship
• Games and activities that encourage fun and laughter
• Serving and preparing morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.

If you’re interested in helping your local community contact the team at Hills Community Care on 9761 5703 or email your interest to hcc@thehills.nsw.gov.au