The Fourth of July has always been a celebration of American independence and patriotism. But beyond that, it is also a time to express our appreciation for being able to spend another year celebrating with our loved ones. While we often associate the Fourth of July festivities with fireworks, outdoor barbecues, and potlucks, we can put a twist on our celebrations by putting effort into giving back to the community. Whether you choose to assist in local festivities or maintain a low-profile by doing charity work, here are some ways you can celebrate the Fourth of July in a way that inspires the spirit of volunteerism and makes the holiday more worthwhile.
Assist in Keeping Local Celebrations Safe
Communities often hold grand Independence Day celebrations to bring the whole neighborhood together. Your local organizations could use extra hands to help plan and decorate the venue, manage the fireworks display, and coordinate security and first aid response. You can reach out to your community organizations to see if they need volunteers to assist in event operations such as organizing parking slots, setting up concession areas, and handling parade-related logistics.
You can also contribute to your community’s behind-the-scenes activities by giving suggestions on how to streamline volunteer operations. For instance, you could suggest ordering custom lanyards and shirts to easily identify volunteers.
Hold a Benefit Barbecue or Yard Sale
True-blue American families have their own unique ways of celebrating the Fourth of July, and you can make yours more meaningful by having a charity barbecue. Invite people you believe could use some company such as your local seniors or retired service personnel. You can also bring the barbecue to those in need by donating non-perishable items to your local charities or volunteering in soup kitchens.
If hosting barbecues is not your thing, you can raise money for charity by gathering your pre-loved items and holding a yard sale. Consider donating the proceeds for food or in-kind support to community volunteers or local charities.
Visit Senior Centers, Homeless Shelters, or Orphanages
Some people do not have the privilege of spending the Fourth of July in a comfortable home with their families. You can share your blessings by dropping by your nearest orphanage, homeless shelter, or assisted living facility. You can contact these centers or connect with local nonprofit organizations (NPOs) that serve meals to the needy or donate items like books, clothes, and toys.
If you decide to volunteer at an orphanage, why not make it fun and educational at the same time? Have a reading session with the kids or tell stories about the sometimes wacky history of the United States of America. Bringing homemade treats, care packages, and board games is also nice, but sometimes, all these people need is someone to spend time with them and listen to what they have to say.
Aside from visiting people in need, you can also visit furry friends at the animal shelter who need some love. You may surprise yourself by going beyond volunteering at the shelter. You might end up adopting your new best friend by the end of the day.
Reach Out to Troops and Their Families
The Fourth of July is a great time to commemorate the heroism and sacrifice of our troops. If you know someone who has been deployed or has a deployed family member, consider inviting them over or helping them cook, clean, or do grocery shopping in time for the festivities.
You can also browse online for veteran-focused NPOs that allow you to send letters or care packages to service personnel and their families. If you want to create your own care kit, consider including items such as necessities, non-perishable food items, and entertainment such as toys or books.
Participate in Cleanup Activities
Celebrations at this time of the year tend to get rowdy, and your local community will always appreciate those who lend a hand in maintaining the area long after the festivities are over. You can check your local churches, schools, nonprofits, youth groups, or other community organizations for neighborhood cleanup activities you can join. If you decide to pitch in, take note of required items such as trash bags, protective equipment, water, insect repellent, sunscreen, shovels, and rakes.
You can even take charge and organize your own post-Independence Day cleanup drive to help bring your community closer. Afterward, you can hold a community picnic to show everyone how much you appreciate their hard work.
Beyond Celebrating Independence
Independence Day is about recognizing the freedom and rights that our founding fathers have fought for so we can enjoy them today. Some of our fellow community members may not feel as free as the rest of us who have complete families and a good roof over our heads. This Fourth of July, reach out to our brothers and sisters and make them feel the unity that has long been a part of the formidable American spirit.