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6 Simple Ways to Say "Happy Birthday, USA!"

It’s among the most celebrated holidays of the year—barbecues, fireworks shows, block parties and family gatherings. But Independence Day is also one of the easiest days to make a difference as a volunteer. And you don’t have to detract from your planned celebration to make a meaningful impactful in your town. In fact, you can often bring your volunteering into the celebratory fold. Here’s how.

Bring safety to the rockets’ red glare. 
Fireworks can be fun for all ages, but in communities where personal fireworks are legal, you can help your neighbors and your local leaders better understand the risks. If they’re sold in your town, you can volunteer to help a local school, place of worship or athletic team raise funds by working in their fireworks booth. If there’s a professional fireworks show in your community, contact the coordinators to see if they need help. And for the ultimate volunteer gift to your community, join your local volunteer firefighting team.

Reach out to the homes of the brave. 
Send some love from the home front to active military members stationed overseas with a thank you note to commemorate Independence Day. You can send it electronically through the USOphysically as part of the Soldiers’ Angels letter-writing team, or continually when you adopt a soldier and commit to weekly communications. You can also find your local Veterans Health Administration health facility and find out how to lend a hand, or seek out a VFW post and ask how you can help them prepare for their holiday celebration with your time, talents or transportation.

Remember, this land is our land. 
Take better care of it with a July 4th trash cleanup. You can organize a neighborhood cleanupadopt a forest and promote prevention through education, or learn about preventing forest fires by reducing ember threats around your home. You could also take your efforts from sea to shining sea, and team up with Ocean Conservancy and more than 12 million volunteers who’ve helped pick up over 220 million pounds of trash from our rivers, lakes, oceans and beaches.

Crown thy good with brother and sisterhood. 
Make a difference for your fellow Americans when you donate blood at a local blood bank or donation event. Sign up to be an organ donor online or at your local DMV. Or join a national bone marrow registry and you just might have an opportunity to save a life.

Be there for others at the twilight’s last gleaming. 
If you’re attending or hosting an event where alcoholic beverages will be consumed, you can offer to be a designated driver in advance, or at least ensure no one in your party drives under the influence, by helping them find a safe ride home.

For more ideas and inspiration, try this simple search and keywords “Independence Day” or “July 4th.”

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