Mind & Spirit

50 good deeds for 50 days

50 good deeds for 50 days

Author: Canadian Living

Mind & Spirit

50 good deeds for 50 days

The thought of doing a good deed might pop into your head from time to time, but  due to your busy life, it might get pushed to the back burner more than you'd like. The truth is, most good deeds don't require the amount of time and organization you think they do. The opportunity to do a good deed pops up every day – it could be in the grocery store, on the daily commute to work or while baking a batch of cookies.

We encourage you to start performing good deeds on a daily basis, and to get you started, we've provided a list of 50 days worth of ideas – so, no excuses! The thing that will surprise you the most is how good you'll feel about it.

1. Make a double-batch of something delicious and freezable and give it to an older neighbour who doesn't cook for him or herself as much anymore.

2. Buy a bag of good groceries – high-quality coffee, whole-grain pasta, a box of decadent cookies or other treats you'd normally buy for yourself – and donate it to your local food bank or shelter.

3. Cut an armload of fresh flowers from your garden and bring them to your local nursing home so the residents can enjoy the smells of spring or summer.

4. Bring your well-behaved dog for a visit at a local nursing home. There's nothing like a happy pup to raise someone's spirits.

5. When out shovelling your walk or raking your leaves, it's not too much more effort to do the same for a neighbour. Consider it good exercise as well as a good deed.

6. Hold the door for people behind you, especially if the person behind is carrying packages, bags or kids.

7. Volunteer at a local breakfast program. A warm smile and a friendly welcome go a long way.

8. Bring someone less fortunate a plant or some fresh flowers. This is something they might not want to spend money on.

9. Make soup for a friend recovering from surgery or an illness. Cooking is the last thing you feel like doing when you aren't feeling 100 per cent.

10. Take your sibling's kids out for the day – to the movies, apple picking, for a hike. The parents could probably use a break and the kids will love it.

Page 1 of 4 - Read page two to learn about volunteering for charities
11. Put together a basket of treats for a friend who had a death in the family. Deliver it after the funeral has taken place, when most friends have gone back to their day-to-day lives.

12. Drive your grandparents, elderly parents and their friends to church, doctor's appointments or the movies. They (and their aging bodies) will value the gesture.

13. Volunteer for a charity. Pick a cause that's near and dear to your heart and donate your time to them.

14. Sit down with your family and estimate what you'd spend on each other for gifts. Instead of buying each other gifts for birthdays or holidays, donate the estimated amount to a charity.

15. If you head out of town, drop off your monthly public transit pass at a youth or job centre. They'll pass on the pass to someone who is in need of it to job hunt or attend school.

16. Take your neighbors trash to the curb while you're taking yours. Imagine their surprise when they see that the chore is already done.

17. If you're in line at the grocery store with a full cart, let the person behind you who only has 5-10 items go in front of you.

18. Offer to take care of a neighbour's pet when they go away on a small vacation. They'll be comfortable knowing their pet is in good hands.

19. Make dinner for friends with a newborn baby (or, if they're far away, send a gift card for the grocery store or a favourite restaurant so they can pick something up).

20. Pay for the person behind you at the drive thru. It will make someone's day! 

21. Help someone who looks lost with directions. Most people are intimidated and feel vulnerable when they're lost, offering to help them find their destination will relieve them.

22. Donate blood. One single donation can help up to 4 people – that should be inspiring enough. Check out the Canadian Blood Services website for more information.

23. Donate your used clothes and housewares to charity. By doing so, you can help people meet basic human needs. Your old sweaters will keep someone warm during the winter and your old housewares can help someone furnish their new apartment.

Around Christmas time, find a holiday angel program in your community. You can donate basic things like toothpaste, towels, sheets and pyjamas for a family in need to open on Christmas morning.

25. Take a CPR class. You never know when you might be in a position to put those life-saving skills into practice.

26. Help an elderly person off the bus or cross the road by offering to take their arm or carry their packages. 

27. By joining a bone marrow registry such as One Match stem cell and marrow network (in Canada), you could be giving someone a lifesaving gift.

Page 2 of 4 - Read page three for more good deeds!
28. Offer to babysit a friend’s kids one night so she and her partner can enjoy a romantic evening out. You friend will certainly be grateful for the night off.

29. Bring your old magazines to a hospital waiting room to make patients' waits a little less nerve racking.

Write a letter or e-mail to a good friend or family member to let them know how much you value them. Can you imagine opening a letter of that sort? Go on, start the trend.

Volunteer yourself to walk an elderly neighbour's dog once a week. Getting out for a walk isn't overly easy for many elderly folk, so they'd most likely appreciate this gesture.

32. Instead of dropping your head and pretending you don't notice (like the rest of the rush-hour crowd) someone struggling to get a stroller down the stairs, take a second and offer to help.

Offer an elderly person, a pregnant woman, a physically disabled person - or just someone who looks tired - your seat on the bus.

34. Help keep your city clean. Pick up plastic bottles and other trash you see around your neighbourhood and deposit it in its appropriate place. Click here to read CanadianLiving.com's Green Living blog.

35. Visit a nursing home just to chat with some of the residents, as many of them don't get regular visitors.

They say that smiling is contagious. Pick a day to smile at everyone you pass on the street.

Pass on your books after you've read them for someone else to enjoy. Take them to a local shelter or give them to friends.

38. Next time you read an article about an author you know your book-loving friend would enjoy, pass it on to them. It will make them feel good that you think about them.

If you've discovered a great little restaurant or store, spread the word. The business and whoever you tell will both benefit.

Page 3 of 4 - Read page four for more great good deed ideas!
40. Being angry at someone requires a lot of energy from both people involved, so go ahead and let go of an old grudge. Forgiving someone who hurt you will open the door for a friendship to be rekindled.

A few days before the holidays or a family member's birthday, head over to your parents' or grandparents' home to wrap their gifts for them. They'll appreciate your help and the company.

42. On a random weekend, surprise your unsuspecting spouse with breakfast in bed. It will make their day.

43. When you come across a two for one deal (which are popular at book and movie stores), donate your free product to a local shelter or youth group.

44. Allot yourself a set amount of compliments to dole out a day. Your co-worker will love hearing that she looks great in her new skirt.

Getting out and about isn't so easy for some. Volunteer to do your grandparents' grocery shopping for them ever two weeks. Is it that much trouble to shop for someone else when you're already making a trip to the grocery store for yourself?

46. Next time you're at your favourite local pub or breakfast diner, leave your server a very generous tip.

47. Everyone knows how annoying it is to rush back to your car only to find a parking ticket sitting on your windshield. To make sure someone else doesn't suffer the same fate, feed parking metres that you notice are about to expire.

48. Next time you do your grocery shopping, pick up a large bag of cat or dog food to donate to a local animal shelter.

49. Host a movie night for 10 of your closet friends. Charge $10 admission, provide the popcorn, candy and drinks, and donate the $100 to a charity you all decide on. It's a perfect way to feel good about having fun.

50. After you complete your 49 days worth of good deeds, treat yourself to a mani-pedi, dinner at your favourite restaurant or those fabulous shoes you've been eyeing. And no matter what, don't suffer from buyers remorse. After all your selfless acts, you deserve a little treat.

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Mind & Spirit

50 good deeds for 50 days