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With the newly released report from the US Census Bureau showing that49.7 million Americans are poor, it can seem like there’s nothing you can do to help. Although a single person can never hope to completely eradicate poverty, there are significant ways to make someone else’s life better.

You don’t have to be a big celebrity like Oprah Winfrey with an “Angel Network” to help. All you need is an open heart, a little creativity, and a bit of research to find out ways to alleviate poverty one donatin at a time.

Donate to your local food bank. When we think of fighting hunger, most of our minds turn toward developing nations overseas. But did you know that, according to the latest US Census Bureau, 17.2 million households, approximately one in seven, don’t have enough food? Consider making a donation to one of the pantries or food banks right in your neighborhood. If you’re unsure of where to go, log on and use the easy-to-navigate food bank locator.

Give clothes to the Good Will. Although you may not see yourself as rich, if you have clothes in good condition that you can afford to give away, you’re a lot richer than many Americans. Instead of just letting those shoes, blouses, slacks, and other items sit and collect dust in storage, pack them up and head over to your local Good Will or Salvation Army. Affordable clothing is a huge help to families who can’t afford to purchase items at the standard retail price.

Do a Fundraiser. If you’re a creative person with great organizational skills, why not do a fundraiser, walkathon, or benefit concert for a cause? If you don’t wish to put on an event in a physical building, you can easily initiate charitable giving through an online fundraiser You can quickly set up your own fundraiser, or join someone else’s efforts to raise money for charity.

Don’t be a Miser. The holiday season is upon us. That means when you head to the cash register at your local department stores, you’ll be asked to give a little extra to charitable causes at checkout. Don’t be “Ebenezer Scrooge.” Give to a great cause. And when you see those read “Salvation Army” buckets outside with Santa ringing the bell, don’t look away and speed up. Drop something in that slot and just like that, you’ve done something to help.

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Give More: 5 Effective Ways To Help Those In Need  was originally published on