Winston S. Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” A study performed by Utah State University’s College of Science Development Director Patrick Svedin showed that giving makes us happier; especially when one freely chooses to give. Giving to others — whether it is our time, money, skills or advice — will help us live a happier life.
The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) has many member nonprofit organizations that are worthy of our time, talent and money. We wanted to highlight a few that may make you feel compelled to give and in return live a happier life.
The Animal Rescue League of Berks County cares for nearly 5,000 animals each year. It helps animals find a second chance new home or help reunite them with their owners. Often times their work goes beyond the shelter walls by offering surrender prevention programs, low-cost veterinary services and clinics as well as educational events throughout Berks County.
How to give: Adopt, foster, donate or volunteer! Adopt a pet and provide an animal a permanent home or foster a pet and provide a temporary loving home. You can choose to give money or supplies to help provide medical care, food and a safe place to sleep. Volunteer your time and talent to provide the pets daily exercise and enrichment. It makes us happy just thinking about giving an hour of our time to get fresh air and walk a dog.
Berks Nature, which is located in Reading, has been serving Berks County since 1974. This organization focuses on helping Berks County “maintain a large, healthy, natural environment.” By getting involved you will not only get more connected with nature, but you will help others enjoy nature for generations to come.
Ways to give: Become a member! With membership you will receive exclusive invitations to and major discounts for Berks Nature events, updates on local nature-related news and the satisfaction that you are helping preserve the beautiful community in which we live. Berks Nature also accepts donations and welcomes volunteers, so there are plenty of ways to get involved.
Bethany Children’s Home provides residential care for school-aged children who are unable to live in a traditional family setting. Located in Womelsdorf it has provided a place of nurture, protection and supportive care in Berks County since 1863.
How to give: Volunteer or donate! According to their website there are many ways to donate money or items to provide children a true “home” atmosphere. There are many ways to give your time and talent from events to gardening to campus maintenance projects.
Mary’s Shelter is a “multifaceted comprehensive housing and social service agency that addresses pregnancy, parenting and youth homelessness through proactive preventative work, crisis intervention services and stabilization back into the community.”
Ways to give: If you had a child in the last couple years, then you probably have plenty of baby items that your child has outgrown and that are just taking up space. Mary’s Shelter is always looking for donations of baby bottles, books, blankets and crib sheets. Just make sure all items are either gently used and practical or, in the case of diapers, wipes and underwear, brand new. Also, don’t forget about the mothers-to-be. Contact them before trying to donate used items, as the COVID-19 pandemic has changed what the organization can and can’t accept. It is always in need of toiletry items like shampoo/conditioner, razors and toothpaste. If you don’t have these items available for donation, financial donations are always welcome. Interested in giving the gift of time? Visit the website to learn more and fill out a volunteer form.
The Salvation Army of Reading offers help to the elderly, the youth, the disabled and the homeless by providing training, mentoring and programing. The Salvation Army’s goal has always remained the same. It strives to serve the most people, meet the most needs and do the most good within the community.
How to give: Volunteer or donate! The Salvation Army is always looking for Community Volunteers to donate their time and talents. There are opportunities to volunteer one time, on a regular basis or in a group. The Salvation Army can turn your skills and what you are passionate about into ways you can help your community. You can also give to the Salvation Army by donating goods or money. When you donate you are offering hope and change in Reading.
The Literacy Council of Reading-Berks serves both adults and businesses and its main focus is to help those two audiences read and write proficiently, become a productive citizen, prepare for work and achieve success on the job. The West Lawn-based organization has helped thousands reach those goals and has no plans to stop.
Ways to give: Volunteer! According to its website, the most pressing need The Literacy Council has is volunteers. If you are able to read, write and speak English, you have the skills needed to help other adults reach their potential. And the volunteer hours are flexible, so you can make it fit into your life and not the other way around. Online donations or in-person cash or check donations are graciously accepted as well.
No matter where you choose to give your time, money, skills or advice we hope it helps you find a happier life.