Birthdays are often a very self-centred affair — which isn’t wrong, given how it is your day. But instead of getting wrapped up in the festivities and celebrating yourself, a much more meaningful way to spend the day is to look outwardly and give back to the society you’ve had the chance to live in.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry — giving back isn’t always about grand gestures or setting up a charitable organisation from scratch. Here are five great yet simple ways to give back to the community so that you grow older as a better, kinder person.
1. Go out of your way
Challenge yourself on your birthday to be conscious and mindful of the people around you, and go out of your way to better someone’s day. Greet your bus driver, help an old lady with her groceries or buying coffee for a colleague — no act is too small. Of course, do this even when it’s not your birthday.
2. Sponsor a pet
Love animals but are too busy to commit to volunteering at an animal shelter? Sponsor a stray instead. By contributing a little bit of money every month, you’re making sure a dog or cat will have food and a roof over its head while it waits for a new loving family to adopt it. Some local animal shelters include SOSD, the SPCA and Mdm Wong’s Shelter and Friends.
3. Organise a food donation drive
Involve your family and friends to give back on your birthday with your very own food donation drive. Get everyone to bring all the non-perishable foodstuff (that are not anywhere near their expiry date) they have, or have everyone contribute a certain amount to buy groceries — from rice to canned food. Send the food to non-profits like the Lions Home For The Elders or The Food Bank Singapore who will in turn distribute them to needy families.
4. Request for donations
Not for yourself, of course. In place of birthday presents, ask your friends and family to donate a sum to a charity of your or their choice.
5. Donate your clothes
Here’s a way to kill two birds with one stone on your birthday: Take the day to clear your wardrobe and take all your preloved pieces to charity thrift stores like The Salvation Army and New2U. Besides being able to give back, you’ll also finally get to declutter.
For more on Living, head here. Or check out Here's Why You Should Be Making Birthday Resolutions or 5 Most Memorable Birthday Moments In Movie History.