Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day! You may have noticed the sweet scent of flowers in the air, or seen stores’ shelves stocked to the brim with heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. That’s right: it’s officially the week of Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion for singles, couples, friends and family members to come together and share their love through heartfelt notes, time together and of course, gifts. But what if you could share love with more people than just those closest to you? What if you could live with more compassion this week and share love with other people in your community, country or even the world? Turns out, you can! Here’s how you can share the love and give back on Valentine’s Day.
1. Send an unexpected Valentine.
Do you remember elementary school, when everyone brought Valentines and everyone received Valentines? Back then, you got unexpected Valentine cards all the time. Over the years, that tradition slowly died, and now you might rarely give or receive any surprise Valentine cards. Instead, change things up a bit this Valentine’s Day and give back by sending a card to someone who doesn’t expect it. Pick an acquaintance who might not receive cards, or check with local organizations like children’s hospitals to see if they accept Valentine’s cards for patients. No matter who you send it to, make sure it’s a surprise so you can brighten someone’s Valentine’s Day.
2. Make a care package.
Valentine’s Day isn’t sweet for everyone. However, you can make a difference by brightening someone’s day with a care package. Whether you send a package overseas to military men and women, create a package to hand out to homeless individuals or put together a goodie bag for your neighbors to enjoy—there are plenty of options to choose from. It’s all up to you, and it can all bring joy this Valentine’s Day. Add in some treats like chocolate or candy, but consider throwing in necessities, too, such as warm socks or water bottles. With a care package, the recipients will definitely feel the Valentine’s Day love.
3. Become a donor.
Give the gift of a full life this Valentine’s Day by becoming a donor. Just last month, January marked National Blood Donor Month, and coming up, April will celebrate National Donate Life Month. If you are able, consider donating blood as frequently as every eight weeks—and save up to three lives with each donation! Of course, if you choose to register as an organ donor, your organs can also be used to save someone’s life, even after you’ve passed away. In fact, a single organ donor can save up to eight people! Those are a lot of lives you can impact this Valentine’s Day, simply by donating blood and organs you don’t need to people who do need them. This Valentine’s Day, you impact someone’s life by becoming a donor.
4. Buy a gift that gives back.
If you want to give a gift to your loved one for Valentine’s Day, put an altruistic spin on it by choosing a gift that gives back. Lots of nonprofit organizations and businesses offer products or services you can purchase which donate a portion of the proceeds to people in need all around the world. For instance, when you buy goods from Product (RED), 100% of proceeds fund HIV/AIDS health and community programs through the Global Fund. Talk about a romantic Valentine’s Day present! If you already have gift ideas, research online to find a place where you could purchase something similar and give back to a good cause at the same time.
5. Go on a volunteer date.
What’s the most romantic thing to do on Valentine’s Day? Give back to someone else, of course! If you want a night out with your significant other, consider going on a volunteer date together. Find an organization or cause you both care about and see how you can get involved to make a difference. Then, not only do you have the opportunity to spend time together, but you also make a positive impact on the world at the same time. Not sure where to start? Choose a cause, find an organization and get connected to see how you can help!
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. This year, share the love with more than just your loved ones. If you want to make a difference, keep these ideas in mind as we head into the holiday, and see how you can show empathy, compassion and love to those around you on Valentine’s Day.