Four Ways to Give Back Like a Celeb - Without the Price Tag

Because, even though we can't be superwomen like Angelina Jolie, we're all more powerful than we think.

By , Columnist

Since not all of us can "give back" like Angelina Jolie (above), charity work can seem a little daunting. Bit there are other celebs who are setting an example of how to change the world a little closer to home.

Leona Lewis is just the latest in a line of beautiful people who have been noticed for their charity work. Most recently, she’s been contributing time and money to the Hopefield Animal leona lewis hopefield.jpgSanctuary, helping to heal animals damaged by idiot humans.

But whether you’re famous or not, one part of growing up and growing into the world around you is learning not only what you can take from your surroundings but what you can give back and how you’re needed in your neighborhood or in the larger human community. If you’re as cash poor as I am right now, you’re probably just shaking your head - who can afford to give back?

You can. Because as you can see from the four ideas listed below, giving back isn’t just limited to celebrities with celebrity bank accounts - you can do more than you might have thought possible if you just get a little creative.

- Donating is about more than money. Before I moved to my new apartment, I went into cleaning mode and divided everything into piles: “pack,” “wash,” “ditch,” and “donate” being the most notable among them. When you go through a big life change - or every year, whichever comes first - dive into your closet and see what can stand to go. If the items are in good shape, donate them to charities who can use them.

Clothes and shoes can go to Goodwill, Salvation Army or, often, women’s shelters. If a beloved pet dies and you have a bunch of toys and food laying around, take them to the SPCA or other local shelter where the living will be more grateful than you can logos.jpg

- Time is of the essence. Go into an animal shelter, a battered women’s shelter, a hospital -- where ever you want! -and volunteer your time. It doesn’t matter if you can’t hold a multimillion dollar benefit for their cause because time is a lot more personal and, in many ways, just as valuable as a check.

- There’s more than one type of “boots on the ground.” Sometimes, the unfairness we find in the situations of those who need help the most can make us feel so guilty, angry, or otherwise uncomfortable that we’d rather walk over hot coals than face them head-on. That’s okay. It’s human to feel angry at our own helplessness, and it takes incredibly dedicated, special people to put those overpowering feelings aside.

The good news is that, often, organizations need just as much help manning the phones, making community connections, raising money, and running the business end of the charity as they do otherwise. Find ways to adapt your unique skills to their needs, and you’ll be able to help make a difference you can feel good about.

- Okay, money IS a one-size-fits-all gift… so make a small annual donation to a cause that’s important to you. It doesn’t matter if you choose a national or local organization, just that you choose. And big checks aren’t necessary -- $25 can buy several collars and leashes, can contribute to someone’s monthly food costs, or might be the extra few bucks required to sign off on a much-needed renovation project. Politics might make us feel like one voice, one person, doesn’t matter - but in charity work, one person’s actions can make all the difference in the world.

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Emmie Scott is an English major-turned-marketing exec, with a passion for writing, humor, sharing knowledge, and "pink drinks." After hours, she started Are Toe Rings Professional Attire?, a blog for college grads and twenty-somethings looking to find their way through that daunting labyrinth called…

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