"If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one." ~ Mother Teresa
Either single-handedly, with the help of friends or family, or volunteering with an organization, cooking up a large or small project is a wonderful way to score brownie points. Anyone -- small fry or senior, individuals or groups -- can whip-up volunteer projects that help others.
Allow your ideas to percolate, and you'll soon discover what your community needs. "Make a Difference Day" (this October 25) is really all about neighbors serving neighbors.
No matter whether you're a scrambled student, a butter-fingered bartender, or even a half-baked housepainter, there are always a few extra hours to consider volunteering an afternoon of your skills: painting a neighbor's porch or finger-painting with the kid next door; removing a scrap heap of trash from the side of a highway or scrap-booking memories at the Senior Center; granny-sitting or babysitting; swinging your kids at the local park or swinging a hammer to help with some carpentry; twisting a screwdriver to assist with electrical work or twisting taffy with some school kids; you get the idea... You could coach a sporting event, offer computer assistance, replant a flower or vegetable bed, do some office work, visit with someone who's lonely, collect food for the homeless or even work in a soup kitchen.
With all of this not-so subtle discussion of food, food, and more food...on "Make a Difference Day" how about cleaning a neighbor's kitchen appliances? (You knew I was going there now didn't ya'!) It doesn't need to take a month of Sundays to quickly and safely clean a kitchen. Here are a few quick pointers and eco-recipes to make your visit speedy and easy as pie.
To clean an automatic drip coffee maker run full-strength white vinegar through a normal brew cycle. Rinse by running plain water through the cycle twice. The pot will be remarkably clean and your coffee will taste better than ever. (Tip: coffee sometimes tastes bitter because of soapy residue...so never wash your pot with soap.)
To clean a dishwasher (I know, it sounds like an oxymoron, but the darn things do get yucky over time!), place a cup of white vinegar into the bottom of the appliance and operate through an entire cycle. Do this once a month to reduce soap build up on the inner rollers, racks gaskets and sprayers.
Pour 1/2 cup of salt into the garbage disposal. Then, by running the disposal following manufacturer's directions, you'll send any odors down the drain! And for an extra treat, cut up a lemon and let the disposal do its job.
Boil 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of water in a glass or plastic container in your microwave for two minutes. The condensation from the boiling mixture will loosen splattered-on-food and those mysterious cheesy lumps, and will even deodorize the machine in the process. Wipe the inside clean with a damp cloth or sponge.
To prevent greasy oven buildup in the first place, dip a sponge in full-strength white vinegar and wipe down all sides of a clean oven, inside and out.
Wash out a refrigerator with a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. It will make everything sparkle.
On "Make a Difference Day" do something -- anything -- to help out a friend or a neighbor in need. If cleaning someone else's kitchen isn't your cup of tea and you don't have a first class project to steak your reputation on sleep on it. The perfect idea is bound to turn up.
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