Doing Our Bit to Tackle Social Problems in Society
May 1st, 2022
Guest blog by Camille Johnson
[Camille contacted me asking about the giant social problems I see. Here they offer some tips for making these things better. Thank you, Camille. Please comment below to offer other tips for small and large ways to engage these macro-challenges. – Bruce Roller]
Providing support to social causes not only helps improve the quality of life of people impacted by them but also allows you to be a part of something much bigger than yourself and create a positive impact on the community. In this article for UCOM, we explore three major social causes in the United States today which you might consider contributing towards.
Cause 1: Food Insecurity
As reported by the USDA, 10.5% of households in the United States currently suffer from food insecurity. Additionally, this issue disproportionately affects single parent households and those with incomes below the poverty line. Here is what you can do to help these households and reduce food insecurity across the country:
Find local organizations that focus on providing food to households in need. For instance, UCOM’s Healthy Choice Food Pantry serves individuals living in Wyoming, Grandville and southwest Grand Rapids. Families can visit the pantry once a month and choose from a wide variety of healthy food options.
As a volunteer you can help in food collection, stocking inventory, food distribution, cleaning, and much more. Other ways to contribute include:
Organizing a food drive in your neighborhood and donating the proceeds to the pantry or directly to families in need.
Showing your support for the cause by making a monetary contribution.
Cause 2: Senior Housing
As reported by the American Bar Association, more than 10 million households occupied by seniors above the age of 65 spend upwards of 30% of their income on housing. While there are a couple of ways seniors can reduce their cost of living, they may not be aware of the options or they may require assistance in applying for programs. Here is how you can step up and help seniors to tackle this problem:
[Urge them to call United Way’s 211 for information and leads to housing resources.—Bruce]
Encourage them to enroll in the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8). Through this program, they can get a voucher to be used for paying a part of the rent.
In addition to housing, here are other ways to help seniors in your community with needs related to healthcare and daily living:
Enroll as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels [or Senior Neighbors] to deliver nutritious meals to seniors in your locality.
Make time each week to spend with seniors, to help them overcome isolation and the negative mental effects it creates. This can include socializing at their home, taking them shopping, or engaging with them in other activities they enjoy.
[Let them know about the Wyoming Senior Center and other centers where they can fill their days with activities they like. –Bruce]
Cause 3: Social Inequalities
The discrimination faced by minority groups based on their gender, sexual orientation, race, and more is well documented. Here are some ways to make a difference as an individual to motivate others to join the cause and take action:
Buy merchandise that nonprofits sell relating to the cause. This can include t-shirts, bandanas, wristbands, phone covers, etc. Not only will it serve as revenue for the organization, but you’ll promote the cause wherever you go.
You are an influencer. Use your social media to start a fundraiser to raise money for the cause. Having a strong connection with your followers will increase the likelihood of their contributing.
Use social media as a platform to be vocal about your experiences and steps you have taken to overcome difficulties you’ve faced. By sharing your experiences, you can motivate others to do the same and create a community.
[Give cash directly to individuals for their personal or family needs by giving through a trusted organization such as the Grand Rapids Mutual Aid Network.--Bruce]
[Join a broad-based organizing effort like Together West Michigan (UCOM is an institutional member along with 20 other churches and institutions.) to collectively affect policy change around specific justice issues.—Bruce]
While non-profits are at the forefront of tackling social causes, they rely on the support of the community to be successful. By taking the time to volunteer or donate, you will be making a valuable contribution towards tackling broader societal issues.