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Make A Difference in 15 Different Ways on Make A Difference Day

Make a Difference Day is a collaborative effort sponsored by TENGA Inc., the Arby’s Foundation and Points of Light each year. Volunteers from across the country join together for service projects around their community or complete projects for those in need outside the community. Here’s a list of 15 ideas for Make A Difference Day.

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Start a Community GardenFamily Handyman

Start a Community Garden

Buying produce at the grocery store can add up depending on the items you purchase. But if you start a garden, you can harvest produce cheaply each year. A well-maintained food garden can produce ½ pound of produce per square foot per growing season, according to the National Gardening Association. A 600-square foot garden could produce 300 pounds of fresh produce and save $600 a year, according to the NGA. Start moving some dirt and learn how to start a garden in your home.
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Build a Little Free LibraryNancy Vogel

Build a Little Free Library


The first Little Free Library was built in 2009 by Todd H. Bol in Hudson, Wisconsin. It has since become a phenomenon of its own with those little libraries on streets across the nation. More than 60,000 Little Free Libraries are found in the U.S. and are in more than 80 countries. The little libraries have helped sprout readers and make for a wonderful community project. Learn more about Little Free Libraries. Photo: Courtesy of Little Free Libraries
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Park BeautificationFamily Handyman

Park Beautification


The neighborhood park might need some work and it’s close enough to haul over a few tools to spruce it up. Park beautification is one of the more popular options for those to celebrate Make A Difference Day and if you can enlist the help of many, it’ll go by quickly. There will be trash to pick up and likely some weeds to eliminate. Find out how to get rid of weeds before heading out to the park.
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Home Demolition HelpFamily Handyman

Home Demolition Help


Volunteers can help out with gutting houses damaged from natural disasters like tornadoes, flooding and hurricanes. If you know someone with the right skills and equipment to undertake a big task, it can be worthwhile to help homeowners in need of demolition work but can’t afford it.
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Fill Up Souls with Some SolesFamily Handyman

Fill Up Souls with Some Soles


As a teenager in 2012, Nick Lowinger found a way to make a difference by donating shoes to nearly 500 kids in 21 shelters in six states in a six-hour span. Joined by 78 volunteers and armed with donations from Stride Rite and Timberland, volunteers filled orders for 496 homeless kids. Find a place to put a shoe organizer in your home after donating any pairs of shoes you no longer use.
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Hurricane Cleanup

Hurricane Cleanup


Volunteers can make an impact in the hurricane-stricken areas of the globe by helping to clean up homes. A massive amount of items need to be removed from homes because of mold. Debris needs to be cleared and so do trees. Support for hurricane victims can come in many ways. A group in Houston is working to create goody bags for families displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Find out what can be done to prepare for a hurricane.
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Hoop it up with a Hoop House Building ProjectFamily Handyman

Hoop it up with a Hoop House Building Project


Community Greenhouse Partners is a non-profit educational urban farm in Cleveland that teaches sustainable agriculture and permaculture. It will cover a set of raised beds that will grow spinach, lettuce, carrots and other vegetables throughout the winter months. Build a greenhouse on a smaller scale at home.
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Add Native Plants to Boost Ecology

Add Native Plants to Boost Ecology


The use of native plants is one way of ridding an area of some invasive species and a group in Ohio will organize to plant native gardens in the area. Native plants can benefit the land because some provide a deeper root system to retain more water and others help pollinators. Thinking about alternatives to grass at home? Try adding native plants to your yard.
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Habitat for HumanityFamily Handyman

Habitat for Humanity


Habitat for Humanity is always a good place to turn to for volunteers, especially for DIYers. It’s an opportunity to give back and also pick up some additional skills. Affordable housing is a need that never goes away but Habitat for Humanity helps fill the need for families. A volunteer project could lead to learning how to pour a concrete slab.
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Fall Litter and Leaf Clean upFamily Handyman

Fall Litter and Leaf Clean up


Fall litter and leaf clean ups can be another quick solution for a project on Make A Difference day. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be the biggest project in the world but a small one like this can have a big impact on nature preserve areas that can suffer from understaffing. Discover easier leaf collecting tips for your project.
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Invasive Species Removal ProjectFamily Handyman

Invasive Species Removal Project


Invasive species damage ecologies on land and in the water. A group in California will try to reduce the impact of invasive species in nearby streams on Make A Difference Day. Invasive species can produce significant changes in an area in a short time. If you’re garden has taken on some unwanted plant life, find out how to get rid of invasive plants.
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Stock Up and Distribute Smoke DetectorsFamily Handyman

Stock Up and Distribute Smoke Detectors


A group in California will distribute smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to low-income families, seniors and disabled residents. Many people die every year just because they don't have these devices or they don’t function properly. Find out how to make sure your smoke detector works and don't forget to check your carbon monoxide detector, too.
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Wall PaintingFamily Handyman

Wall Painting


Repainting a wall is a large-scale community activity that brings a community together. If it’s to prep a mural, it’ll be something volunteers can look back on as something tangible they contributed to in the town. In Arizona a volunteer group will paint 1,000 feet of a wall for Make A Difference Day. If you’ve got an exterior paint project in your future, learn what to know about exterior paint.
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Plan a Tree Planting Party

Plan a Tree Planting Party


A group in Houston plans to plant more than 100 trees on Make A Difference Day. It’s a way to have a lasting impact on the community and give younger people something to remember later in life. Make sure those trees last by knowing how to plant a tree correctly.
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Capture Rain with a Rain BarrelFamily Handyman

Capture Rain with a Rain Barrel


Rain barrels are an easy way to help the environment and yourself. Rain barrels reduce runoff into lakes and rivers while keeping your water use down. By collecting rain water you can reuse it to water plants around the home. Find out how to build a rain barrel of your own.

Make a Difference Day will enter its 25th year on Oct. 28 and is open to all U.S. residents. Those who participate and submit their plan are eligible to win the grand prize of $10,000 to their 501 (c) (3) charity if they submit their entry/plan by Nov. 30. For complete details visit Make a Difference Day online.