7 cost-free charitable giving ideas that will make you a health-hero

Make the World a Healthier Place

by Beth Hering

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While many of us would love to have large amounts of money for charitable giving, the fact is that most of us don't. But just because your checkbook cannot cover the cost of adding a new wing to your local hospital doesn't mean you can't make a huge impact on the health of others. The following seven cost-free ideas can make you a health-hero to someone in need (click on the links for more information on each topic):

Give Blood

With car accidents, cancer treatments, and birth complications, every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. And since blood cannot be manufactured, only blood donors can provide this lifesaving product. The basic qualifications for donating blood are easy for most adults to meet. You need to weigh at least 110 pounds, be at least 17 years old (16 in some states), and be healthy (feeling well and able to perform regular activities). Donors can give again after 56 days.

Donate Your Old Eyeglasses

The price of a pair of glasses exceeds three months' average salary in some African countries. Groups such as the Lions Club can recycle a pair of used eyeglasses for as little as 8 cents, yet more than four million pairs of unused eyeglasses go into the garbage in North America each year.

Sign an Organ Donation Card

Nineteen people die each day waiting for transplants that can't take place because of the shortage of donated organs. Acceptable organ donors are those whose brain function has ceased permanently but whose heart and lungs continue to function with help of ventilators. Approximately 12,000 people who die each year meet that criteria, but less than half of that number become actual organ donors.

Learn How to Tell if Someone is Having a Stroke

For a person having a stroke, every minute without treatment costs the victim about 1.9 million brain cells. But someone suffering a stroke may not be in the position to help himself or herself, whether by denying the symptoms or by being physically or mentally unable to reach a phone to dial 911. Learning the symptoms of a stroke and how to perform a quick assessment of the potential victim's condition can give medical personnel the added minutes they need to ensure the best possible outcome.

Imagine how much simpler life could be if you were debt free. Now take the first step to getting there.

Pass Along "The Drunk Driving Poem"

During the four minutes it takes for you to read this article, another two people will be injured in drunk-driving accidents. Many people have been sobered by a poem known as "The Drunk Driving Poem," "Death of an Innocent," or "Mom." The author is unknown. E-mail the poem to friends, post it on a bulletin board at work, or ask the editor of your local newspaper to print it, especially during holiday seasons, when drunk-driving accidents are highest.

Tell Everyone with a Child to Get Their Car Seat Checked

While about 97 percent of parents believe they are using their child safety seats correctly, studies show that 8 out of 10 children riding in child car seats are incorrectly buckled in. Certified car seat inspectors are available in most communities to offer free help, but many people are unaware of their services.

Teach Your Children How to Avoid Spreading Their Cold

The common cold causes American children to miss some 22 million days of school each year. Instruct your children to cough or sneeze into their elbow rather than their hand (hands touch more surfaces), to wash their hands frequently with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds (the amount of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice), and to throw used tissues into the garbage can every time they finish blowing their nose.

Take the Next Step

  • Choose a charity to help and get started!
  • Discover more ways to donate to charity on a budget by visiting the Dollar Stretcher Library.
  • Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!

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