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5 Ways to Give Back on Valentine’s Day

Modcloth Red Heart Peter Pan Collar Dress - Cup of Charisma 1

Valentine’s Day is a hotly debated subject amongst my friends. There are those of us who relish in the candy grams and flowers, while others would rather ditch Cupid completely. It took me awhile to learn this, but Valentine’s Day is about love — all kinds of love. It doesn’t matter if you’re single or in a relationship, the holiday is just another reason to spread your love. Love is boundless and can be with more than your significant other, but your community. With so many people in need, it’s the perfect opportunity to give back on Valentine’s Day to those who could use the love.

Frankly, I’m in a relationship and I’m still not one for Valentine’s Day. The crowded restaurants, packed CVS lines filled with last-minute card shoppers, and the hundreds of #relationshipgoals updates that fill my feed don’t really get me jazzed. I’m not the Valentine’s Day Grinch, but my boyfriend and I value our anniversary far more because it’s our own special holiday. When I was single, I used to always volunteer for shifts at work. While all of those Valentine’s Days — both single and betrothed — were nice, there always felt like there was a deeper meaning I was missing.

This Valentine’s Day, I plan to show love to not just my partner, but to myself and to my community. (Side note: When you really dive deep, giving is actually a form of self-care! Studies by neuroscientists have found that “giver’s glow” is a real thing, determining that selfless acts and volunteering benefits our health. Don’t take that as me saying giving is selfish, but it’s a ripple effect. When you take the time to care for others, you learn from them and enrich your spirit, heart, and health.)

Without further ado, here are five ways to give back on Valentine’s Day:

Buy a Gift That Gives Back

Giving back on Valentine’s Day can be as simple as buying a gift from a socially conscious brand. Your purchases give you power to make a difference. Donating can be as easy as buying from fair-trade, sustainable and social good brands. Consider gifting a subscription to Causebox or buying a product that features a one-to-one program.

Give Back to a Local Domestic Violence Shelter

While healthy relationships are something to celebrate, domestic violence is a huge issue plaguing society. (If you haven’t read my own story, you can check it out here!) Physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse impact a third of women in the United States. Help families impacted by the harrowing effects of abuse by donating gently used clothes and supplies to your local domestic violence shelter. In Houston, our local shelter is Houston Area Women’s Center. Before visiting a shelter, you should always check their list of donation requests to see what they are accepting.

Write a Love Letter to Someone Who Really Needs It…

Cards for Hospitalized Kids — an organization founded by Jen Rubino who was first hospitalized at age 11 — collects and sends out homemade cards to children around the country.  Individuals across the United States can give back by donating their time and creativity to make handmade cards for Cards for Hospitalized Kids to distribute in hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses across the nation. More than 100,000 children have received cards to date.

Donate Your Flowers to a Local Hospital or Shelter

Flowers have been proven to improve mental and emotional health. A simple bouquet can brighten up a patient’s hospital room or bring new energy to a senior center. If you’re feeling generous and want to put your Valentine’s Day bouquets to new use, reach out to local senior centers or hospitals in your area to ask permission to donate your fresh blooms.

Make a Date Out of Volunteering

Let me be clear: There is nothing hotter than empathy. Finding a date who has a big heart and a capacity to give back is a win in my book. Use your Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to volunteer at a local organization with your date. You can find opportunities in your community using Charity Navigator. Once you’ve wrapped up your day of service, celebrated with champagne and dinner.

Have any other ideas to give back on Valentine’s Day? I’d love to hear what you think!

Photos by Banavenue Photography

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