Trying to give back this year? Here are some great ways to show your community some love on Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is all about love, relationships, and romance. It can be so much fun, but it can get a little cliché too. Okay, okay, it can get a lot cliché.
If you’re in a long term relationship, you might not feel like doing the traditional chocolate-and-flowers-thing every single year, and if you’re living the single life, Valentine’s might feel like one giant eye roll.
This year, why not consider celebrating Valentine’s in a different way?
While so many of us get into the giving spirit during December, most people forget to give back during the rest of the year. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to help your the community and show love to those who need it the most.
Whether you’re celebrating being single, or you’re looking for an original date idea for you and your beau, these ways to give back on Valentine’s will surely warm your heart, and make someone’s else’s holiday much brighter too.
1. Your date isn’t the only one who likes flowers. Help brighten a room at a nursing home.
In college, I helped plan a Valentine’s Day event with lots of balloons, flowers, and so much pizza. Of course, at the end of the night we were left with a giant mess, but we were told to save the centerpieces.
Someone on the party planning committee had the idea to pack up all the flowers and send them to the local retirement community. It sounded like a good idea until I found out that it was my job to put the vases filled in boxes and wake up early the next day to drive them over.
When I got there, I expected to unload the boxes and be on my way, but one of the women at the front desk stopped me. She said they didn’t have anywhere to put them in the lobby, and I’d have to drop off the flowers to the individual rooms.
Honestly, I didn’t want to pass them out, I didn’t know anyone in the hospital and I wasn’t in the mood to socialize, but the moment I shuffled into the first bedroom, I knew how important it was to do just that.
I met a lot of seniors who weren’t doing well, who were sick and lonely, and I loved dropping off some flowers to brighten their day. Plus, most residents really appreciated getting to talk to someone new, and knowing that I had made their morning a little better really made my Valentine’s Day.
This year, consider bringing a stranger flowers. You don’t have to throw a party to find some florals, but you also don’t have to break the bank getting bouquets. You can get involved with a charity like Random Acts of Flowers, and pass out flowers as a team. Or, if you want to fly solo, any stores have Valentine’s Day arrangements on sale on the 15th, and picking some up and bringing them to your local retirement home or hospital will make any resident feel special.
2. Everyone Deserves a Valentine’s Day Card
While passing out florals might sound nice, maybe flowers just aren’t your thing. Instead, you might consider making a few cards.
I adore Valentine’s cards: they were so much fun to collect in elementary school and now I love getting sweet cards from my fiancé every year. But these Valentine’s cards don’t have to stop with people you know. The My Golden Valentine project has been making a difference by writing cards for people who may not have many people around for the holiday.
This year, they’re hoping to deliver 10,000 cards to assisted living and nursing homes in North Dakota and Nebraska. That’s a lot of love!
But even even if you’re not in the North Dakota/Nebraska area, don’t think you can’t get involved. You can write your own cards and deliver them to your local nursing home. Plus, you can make an event out of it by inviting friends to write cards and watch Valentine’s-themed movies. Or, if you have kids or young nieces and nephews, this could make for a great kid-friendly Valentine’s activity.
3. Bring Valentine’s Day to your local children’s hospital
On Valentine’s Day, kids should be in school making hearts out of construction paper for their parents, but many kids are missing out.
This Valentine’s, you can make a difference by volunteering at your local children’s hospital or joining a toy drive. I used to volunteer in a children’s hospital, talking to long-term patients and keeping them company. It was so rewarding, but there are so many other ways to get involved too.
One barber shop has worked hard for more than a decade to collect stuffed monkeys to give to children in hospitals and children who have been neglected.
Something as simple as a stuffed monkey can brighten a child’s day and make them feel special on Valentine’s.
So, whether you’re donating toys or if you plan to get more involved with a hospital, like with the CHOC Children’s Hospital volunteer program, your effort could mean a lot to a child in need of some Valentine’s spirit.
4. Show your love to some furry friends.
One of my favorite places to volunteer is at animal shelters. Come on, what better way to spend your time than with cute, lovable animals?
And the animals, and the shelters, really appreciate your effort.
There are so many animals that don’t have homes and they need a lot of love, so shelters often depend on volunteers to help show love to those pups and kitty-cats.
Celebrate V-Day by taking a shelter dog for a walk or playing with some animals at your local rescue. These furry friends will appreciate your attention, and who knows, maybe you’ll fall in love and bring one home as a Valentine’s Day gift to yourself.
5. Donate Blood
This gives a whole other meaning to “heart day.” While romance might get your blood pumping, donating blood can help you show love to the people who need it.
Of course, at first I was squeamish about giving blood, but I’ve found that it is totally worth it to know that you are making a difference. Plus, it’s the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
It doesn’t take long to donate, it costs nothing to do, and you get a cookie out of the deal. And hey, you deserve some extra sweets on Valentine’s Day! Check out blood drives near you, The Red Cross is always out and about, and could be hosting a blood drive near you!
6. Give a gift that really means something
For me, the hardest part of Valentine’s Day isn’t finding something to do, it’s finding the right gift. I always get something for my fiancé, but I also like to get something for my mom, and who could forget my BFF (gotta celebrate Galentine’s Day!)
I would usually end up buying a few trinkets and maybe a picture frame or two, but I know that a lot of these presents were ending up just being clutter.
This year, make a pact with your sweetie or your best pals to get each other a donation to each other’s favorite charities. It will mean a lot to the charity, and you’ll feel good doing it.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to get involved in your community and show your love to those who will need it the most. With these six ideas, your Valentine’s Day will be as memorable, and meaningful as ever.
Read more great stories about Valentine’s Day like: My Valentine’s Day Despair and Triumph, My Complex Life and Lessons Around Valentine’s Day and A Widow on Valentine’s Day (A Video Experiment).