It pays to give



5 ideas for investing in the world around you

5 ideas for investing in the world around you


In a world fraught with social, political and environmental strife, a mindset that involves a more community-driven approach can make a meaningful difference. Each person’s contributions to improve the earth can send a ripple effect that ultimately transforms communities and the people who live within them.

Consider these examples of actions you can take, some bigger than others, that benefit the larger community.

Create Shared Common Spaces

Nearly every community can benefit from the addition of resources that benefit multiple families. Examples include community gardens, playgrounds, parks and sites for regular farmers’ markets, to name a few. These may be wholly new projects or restoring facilities that have faded into disrepair over time. Acquiring the space is often the greatest challenge, but if you’re inspired to lead such an effort, forming a committee of like-minded peers can be an effective step toward raising the funds to create a project that benefits the community at large.

Donate to Charitable Causes

Supporting the efforts of existing organizations that help fill gaps in your community is another way you can make a difference. Offering your time as a volunteer is one option. You might provide extra hands for relatively simple jobs like sorting food or clothing donations, or if you have a particular skill, talent or training, donating your time and expertise could help offset administrative expenses and help the organization operate more efficiently. That ultimately means the organization can more effectively deliver on its mission.

Financial contributions are also a meaningful way to support a worthwhile cause in your community. Writing a check may not feel as personal as getting hands-on to help, but without the support of financial donors, philanthropic organizations simply couldn’t provide the community resources they do. Many organizations will tell you what level of contribution would be most helpful based on their current fundraising needs, and you may have options for a one-time or ongoing gift.

READ MORE: Never too young to volunteer

Snack Smarter

When you’re thinking in terms of how to improve your community, your eating choices may not be on your radar. However, what you eat has a major impact on the community in multiple ways. That’s why you hear a great deal of talk about sustainability directed at food production, which affects the environment in numerous ways along the food supply chain, from air pollution to waste to energy consumption. By choosing ingredients and foods that minimize the impact on the environment, you can show food manufacturers that consumers want products sourced and produced responsibly.  

One example is Airly Oat Cloud crackers; each box explains how many grams of carbon dioxide you are helping remove from the air by supporting an innovative farming technique, which makes agriculture a solution, not a contributor, to climate change. Sustainable can be tasty, too. Made with real, wholesome and 100% delicious ingredients, all four flavor varieties (Cheddar, Sea Salt, Chocolate and Salted Caramel) make for satisfying, convenient anytime snacks.

Support Local Businesses

Particularly over the past couple of years, local businesses have fought hard to stay open, modifying their services, adapting to the times and generally trying to keep themselves and their local employees afloat. Rewarding those efforts by shopping in their stores and hiring their services keeps your money within the local community while keeping your friends and neighbors employed.

Those benefits aside, there are practical advantages to doing your shopping locally, such as lower emissions and energy consumption for transportation to and from the store or business. What’s more, businesses that are thriving tend to be stronger corporate citizens, supporting the community’s development and philanthropic needs for a true domino effect.

Clean Up Public Spaces

Beautification projects not only make your community a more inviting place to be, they can actually be good for the earth. Removing litter allows natural vegetation and wildlife to thrive, reduces health risks and promotes safety by sending a clear message that the community cares about its space.

Litter management can spur tourism and economic benefits, as well, since more attractive places attract more people. What’s more, clean-up initiatives bring neighbors together for a shared cause, and that goodwill generally transcends the one-time event to create a greater sense of connectivity among residents.

You can learn more about ways to take personal action to promote a better world at AirlyFoods.com.

A Recipe That Tastes Good While Doing Good

Even the best-tasting desserts can be prepared with thoughtful ingredients and habits that promote sustainability. This Better Than Mama’s Banana Pudding recipe features responsibly sourced products, compostable ingredients and other options to be earth-friendly, including recyclable packaging.


Better Than Mama’s Banana Pudding

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 stick butter, cut into 4 tablespoons
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla 
  • 1 box Airly Chocolate or Salted Caramel Crackers 
  • 4 medium bananas, sliced whipped topping (optional)

In medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk sugar, brown sugar, salt, flour, evaporated milk, milk, butter and eggs continuously until mixture begins to simmer and thicken, 8-10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap touching pudding. Let rest 1 hour in refrigerator.

Layer 8-by-8-inch pan with crackers, reserving some for topping; sliced bananas; and pudding. Repeat layers then top with whipped topping, if desired, and sprinkle with crushed crackers.

Tips: Banana peels and eggshells can be composted. Evaporated milk can and cracker box can be recycled.

Courtesy Family Features

Photos courtesy of Getty Images (gardener and volunteers)



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • 5 tips to help families manage holiday stress

    The holiday season can make everyone feel a little overwhelmed

    ’Tis the season for holiday parties, travel, hosting and more. While it is a joyous time of year, the never-ending to-do lists and school being out of session can make everyone feel a little overwhelmed, children included. read more »
  • A foil packet meal for sweet fall simplicity

    Delicious and easy dinner with sweet potatoes

    Fall provides almost endless opportunities to gather friends and family around great food. From tailgates and family events to those precious last outdoor meals before winter sets in, the scenery of autumn is a perfect backdrop for sharing meals together. read more »
  • 5 steps for better meal prep

    Eat healthier and save time

    Eating healthier and saving time around the house are common goals for many families, and there’s one solution that can help attain both: meal-prepping. By planning and preparing meals in advance of each week, you can practice better portion control while creating free time for normally hectic mornings, afternoons and evenings. read more »
  • How to keep pets happy and healthy this holiday season

    7 tips to help you spot potential hazards for your furbaby

    The holiday season means fun and festivities for all, but getting wrapped up in all the excitement and celebrations can lead to forgetting about safety and precautions, especially for pets. read more »
  • Thanksgiving traditions and memory-making meals

    2 mouth-watering recipes everyone will love

    Starting with parades and ending with family meals, Thanksgiving provides all-day opportunities for celebrating life’s special moments with those nearest and dearest to your heart. read more »
  • How to protect your home and valuables this holiday travel season

    Protect your assets when you hit the road

    Whether you’re visiting your in-laws or taking a tropical vacation over the holidays, you’ll likely be leaving your house and the majority of your belongings unattended while you’re gone. Recent research suggests that if you’re like many Americans, you may not be doing enough to protect your assets when you hit the road. read more »
  • Webinar on nicotine and stress

    From NYS Smoker's Quitline

    Panel of national and state experts elucidates the "vicious cycle" as a result of regularly using tobacco and vape products read more »
  • Elevate a family-favorite side dish to a flavorful, protein-packed meal

    Turn an easy, everyday side dish into a full-blown dinner

    Taking the stress out of family meals at home can be as simple as turning your attention toward recipes that pack plenty of flavor without complicated prep. In fact, you can even turn an easy, everyday side dish into a full-blown dinner by simply adding your favorite protein. read more »
  • Put a plant-based twist on holiday baking

    Try these delectable holiday desserts

    Flavorful desserts are a staple of the holidays and the exciting, appetizing allure of new recipes can help elevate seasonal gatherings and create sweet memories. With near-endless options for celebrating the season, putting a plant-based twist on traditional recipes offers everyone the opportunity to indulge with decadent treats. read more »
  • Understanding GMOs

    Info from the FDA

    Many consumers are curious to learn more about GMOs. A GMO (genetically modified organism) is a plant, animal or microorganism that has had its genetic material (DNA) changed using technology that generally involves the transfer of specific DNA from one organism to another. read more »