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neighborhoodAt Buzz, we like when the fences around our homes look good. And we like when our neighbors’ fences look good, too. In fact, we prefer they keep up their homes and yards in general. Sometimes when they don’t, we get a bit aggravated. What are they doing in there, we might wonder, drinking beer and watching reality TV while their retaining wall crumbles and their spiky, invasive plants send shoots into our yards? Maybe. Then again, our neighbors might be dealing with age, disability or some other problem that means they’re not able to keep the yard looking as nice as they’d like.
National Philanthropy Day reminds us that instead of shaming the less fortunate, we could lend a helping hand, not just on this day, but all year long. Philanthropy, or the love of humankind, is a good thing to celebrate any day of the year. But ever since President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Philanthropy Day in 1986, the official date has been November 15.
How to Help?
Sometimes it’s hard to know the best way to help a neighbor. After all, everybody has their pride, so bringing up their trash-strewn yard or sagging fence can be touchy. But if one of your neighbors is old, ailing, and/or slowing down, there are lots of easy ways you could help, including:

  • Dragging their trash cans outside for trash day
  • Offering to pick up a few things for them at the store when you do your own shopping
  • Trimming a hedge
  • Raking leaves or shoveling snow (okay, not so easy, but if you’re doing it anyway…)
  • Giving them a ride to church
  • Cooking a little extra and sharing some food with them
  • Dropping off a card or a small holiday gift so they know someone is thinking of them

Ready for a new fence?

This can mean a lot to your neighbor.
Organizations
If you want to generally help those in need, rather than a specific neighbor, many organizations would welcome your gift of time and skills. In our great state of Texas, we have a wealth of organizations that help you help others.
In the Mid-Cities region of northeastern Tarrant County, Helping Hands assists seniors with building wheelchair ramps and doing minor home repairs. Their Adopt-a-Yard and Adopt-a-Lawn programs keep seniors’ yards looking spiffy. These are great programs for churches, youth groups, sports teams, Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts to take on.
In Fort Worth, the Northside Inter-Community Agency has many volunteer opportunities, including working in its thrift store, picking up food for the food bank, doing yard work and minor home repairs. They welcome people who are able to volunteer as little as two hours per month.
The Texas Ramp Project in Dallas builds wheelchair ramps for low-income disabled people. Folks often volunteer as a group to build ramps. At least some of the crew members need a few basic skills, such as knowing how to use an electric drill.
Live somewhere else and have a few hours a month to donate? Call your local senior services center and ask about opportunities.
Thanks for being a good neighbor
At Buzz, we love good neighbors. So, thanks for reading to the end of this post! We’ll finish with a few deep thoughts – deeper than we can muster – on philanthropy.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” — Theodore Roosevelt
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” — Charles Dickens
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” — Acts 20:35