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In what feels like the midst of one of the more strange, tense, heartbreaking and terrifying years in memory, we’ve seen many communities rally together to stand up and stand together. 

Supporting the local community is something that I’ve been passionate about for some time – at A & T Roofing and Construction, we have made it a point in the past to donate our time and money, and usually a few gifts around the holidays to the less fortunate. But not everyone – particularly during a large scale financial crisis – is always in a position to simply sign a check or punch their credit card numbers into GoFundMe. Many of us are hurting financially right now, and it can feel difficult to support a community during a time like that. 

However, there is plenty more to community action and philanthropy than just giving your money. 

Listen and Learn, Educate Yourself

A great place to start with virtually any cause, educating yourself on the matter – whether it’s income inequality in your community, homelessness, disease, or social and societal issues – coming from a place of education should be step number one. 

To add to the above, sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself when trying to learn is learning how to listen. Different people have different experiences than you, and part of educating yourself is understanding that you don’t know – or even don’t understand everything. Listen, learn, and educate yourself on the issues going on in your community. 

Donate Your Time

Perhaps you’ve found a noble cause you’d like to support via your research and speaking to some others in your area but don’t know the best way to get involved. First and foremost – ask them! They might have a few great suggestions unique to their organization or cause. Some of the time, however, the response will simply be getting involved. 

Whether it’s volunteering at a fundraiser, going into a school to chaperone a trip or activity, or handing out food at a soup kitchen, your involvement won’t cost you a penny, but will be priceless to those you’re helping. 

Spread Awareness

Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? The viral video sensation that swept across the United States in 2014 invited people to donate money and create videos of themselves dumping buckets of ice water on themselves, nominating others to do the same and thereby raising both money and awareness. 

And while many, at the time, questioned the legitimacy of “awareness campaigns,” the Ice Bucket challenge helped to raise an astonishing $115 million in just eight weeks and helped to spur on important gene research and discoveries towards the cure of ALS.