Having trouble accepting the new world? We hear you. The majority of voters in the United States voted for a president who didn't win, and that's a bitter pill. It's time to shake it off and work with what we've got. There are big ways to effect change in the world, but the first step is often small. Here are a few suggestions for a beginning.
• Publix has an annual drive to buy holiday meals for families in need. Chip in, feel warmth.
• In Indian Rocks Beach, the Beach Community Food Pantry is raising funds to buy 320 Thanksgiving dinners for local families in need. They say that $25 buys dinner for a family, but any amount helps. Bring (or mail) a check or canned goods to the food pantry at Calvary Episcopal Church, 1615 First St., Indian Rocks Beach.
• Always Best Care Senior Services of Hillsborough County is fighting hunger with an online food drive to benefit Cornerstone Kids. Now through Dec. 13, residents are encouraged to visit YouGiveGoods.com/ABC-Hillsborough and select from a variety of goods to purchase for donation. The online food drive is made possible through YouGiveGoods, an innovative company that connects tangible giving to community needs through a free, easy-to-use online service.
• Transform empty shoeboxes into gift boxes filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items from Monday through Nov. 21. Volunteers are opening drop-off locations for the gifts as part of the Samaritan's Purse project Operation Christmas Child. The gifts and supplies will be delivered around the world to children who are living in poverty, war, disease or natural disaster. A searchable list of drop-off locations is at samaritanspurse.org/occ.
• Concerned about LGBTQ rights? Donate to Metro Health, Wellness & Community, which supports gay and transgender teens among other good works, at metrotampabay.org. Or make a donation to Equality Florida at gofundme.com/forthe49, which will get matching funds up to $100,000 to uproot hatred in honor of the Pulse victims.
• One friend's daughter turned her feelings into action by donating to Planned Parenthood (plannedparenthood.org) and the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (cairflorida.org).
Be a helper
• Take a walk around the block and bring a spare shopping bag. Pick up any trash you come across. Exercise is good for the soul — and your neighborhood will look better.
• Be a Big Brother or Big Sister. Volunteer to spend a few hours a month with a child for a year. Big Brothers Big Sisters Tampa Bay is looking for men, women and couples to take kids to the library or a ball game. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Drop off a new bag of dog or cat food or supplies at an animal shelter. Pet Pal Animal Shelter in St. Pete and Tampa Bay Humane Society in Tampa have wish lists on their websites (petpalanimalshelter.com; humanesocietytampa.org). Better yet, volunteer to walk the dogs or pet the cats. Nothing better than doggy kisses.