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The start of the New Year is a great time to set goals for improving yourself and the world around you. On a personal level, you may choose to leave behind some negative habits, such as smoking, drinking, or eating junk food. You may also resolve to forge ahead with positive new actions, including going to the gym, recycling, and helping in the community.

If you’re looking to serve others more in the coming year, consider helping people who are victims of disasters. Disasters can strike at any time—often when you least expect them. Nobody knows when there is going to be a house or brush fire in the community. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes can also wage destruction at any time. There will be countless opportunities to help people in the wake of these catastrophes.

Here are a few ideas for helping out:

  • Organize a fundraiser. Money is always needed for disaster cleanup. You can solicit donations directly or hold a carwash, spaghetti dinner, or service auction to raise funds for disaster victims.
  • Share your savings. You can also donate sums of money yourself. Contact organizations like the American Red Cross for information on submitting your donation.
  • Sponsor a clothing or food drive. Talk to your school or local library to see if you can set up a donation drive. The Red Cross or similar organizations can help you know what items are most needed. Publicity is the key. You will need to get the word out through fliers, newsletters, word of mouth, and more.

Anything helps. Even if you can’t mount a large-scale effort, you’ll be doing a great service by making people more aware of the suffering of people affected by disasters. Altruism can be contagious. Your efforts might prompt others to share in your efforts in the wake of future calamities.