Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a celebration between two lovers; it can also serve to spread your love in many charitable ways.
The Case Foundation reclaims Valentine’s Day as “Generosity Day,” a loving day to be selfless and kind, to give without expectation and to be generous by default. The act of giving overwhelms the heart with love and happiness, so this Valentine’s, share your love generously with the charitable ideas below. Want to give back as a couple? You can still indulge in the traditional V-Day; get some deliciously sweet treats for your guy or a bouquet of red roses for your gal and go volunteer together.
Spread Acts of Kindness
Even the smallest act of kindness can brighten someone's day and inspire more unexpected kindness to spread. Something as simple as buying a stranger a cup of coffee can leave you feeling more fulfilled than you ever would have expected. Bring homemade cookies and chocolates to work for co-workers and include a special message of appreciation; set aside time write a letter to a long-distance friend or family member; whatever you do, do it with love and a smile.
Donate a Dinner
Rather than go out to an expensive restaurant on Valentine's Day, cook dinner at home (like the romantically red penne pasta in a roasted beet sauce), then donate the money you would have spent on dinner to Feeding America, a non-profit organization and nationwide network of food banks. On the website you can donate directly and also learn about hunger in your community.
Help Grow a Garden
If you receive (or send) a beautiful bouquet of roses, spread the natural beauty by supporting the American Community Gardening Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing community gardening and greening. You can support the ACGA mission by donating online, buying ACGA publications for the community gardener or signing up for the philanthropy program AmazonSmile.
Give to the Homeless
This year Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday, and many couples may dream of a romantic weekend getaway. Postpone your trip for a summer vacation and instead help someone who's homeless or in need of basic essentials. Homeless Shelters Directory shared a list of supplies for the homeless that you can donate to a shelter in your city. JustGive.org has also compiled this list of 35 ways to help.
Make a Senior Smile
If you're feeling lonely on Valentine's Day, find yourself a friend for the day. Many seniors in assisted living facilities have no one to share the day with either. Visit CreateTheGood.org to discover volunteer opportunities at local nursing homes and share quality time with a senior. Simply chatting or playing games with a senior or listening to their story can give them happiness and good health. You may just end up making a new friend and become an ongoing companion.
Go On a Play Date
The most idyllic Valentine's Day is typically a romantic date with a special someone, but what about having a play date with your favorite kid? Plan a rendezvous with your niece, nephew or even neighbor to bake Valentine's Day treats like cookies or cupcakes. You can also create a Valentine's Day package decorated with red paint, pink glitter and heart stickers—filled with candies and handcrafted goodies. Kids can give the baked treats or box (or both!) to their parents, teacher or another special friend.