21 unexpected ways to give back and do good on Black Friday.

Thanksgiving is around the corner and you know what that means ... Black Friday and all its beautiful madness is almost upon us.

Photo by Powhusku/Flickr.

Sure, it's crowded and intense, but those glorious sales make it worth it, right? Maybe you'll find that game system your kids have been begging for marked down 50% or a pair of earrings you could never justify buying for yourself until the price hit the floor. Regardless of why someone chooses to spend their post-Turkey Day weaving through hoards of sale-hungry folks, there's always a big payoff.


Of course, all that retail therapy can sometimes make you feel a wee bit selfish too. After all, even though you're taking advantage of massive sales, there are many people who don't have that luxury.

With that in mind, we challenge you to take some of that shopping energy you've stored up for Black Friday and give it back. There are plenty of little ways you can be generous to others while still being good to yourself and your loved ones.

Photo via iStock.

Together, with a little bit of ingenuity, we can make Black Friday a day of giving as well as a day of getting.

Here are 21 ways you can be generous on Nov. 24.

1. First things first: out with the old and in with the new.

Photo via iStock.

Since you're already planning on bringing home new stuff, why not go through your old clothes, shoes, and appliances first and see if there's anything you can give away?

If you're not sure what's accepted or where to bring your stuff, RecycleNow can help.

2. Heading out super early in the morning to Black Friday sales? Bring donuts and coffee.

Photo by Powhusku/Flickr.

You don't have to bring enough for everyone, but the people shivering near you in line will become your best friends.

3. On your way to the sales, why not pick up some fellow shoppers and save the environment while you save money?

Put the word out that you're going shopping on Black Friday and can offer rides to anyone else who wants to come. You'll be doing right by the planet and making shopping buddies.

4. Once you're in the stores, you can shop and give back at the same time.

While you're out braving the malls and stores, pick up some basic undershirts, socks, underwear, etc., and donate them to your local clothing bank. Often, people throw away their undergarments because they assume no one will want them used.

5. And hold the door for people while you're at it.

They may not always say "thank you," but trust me, if they're carrying a ton of bags, they'll appreciate it.

6. Be sure to pick up some cozy socks for a good cause too.

Cozy socks! Photo via Old Navy.

This is not a drill: Old Navy will be selling these super cozy socks for $1 a pair on Black Friday, and all the profits up to $1 million will go directly to Boys & Girls Clubs.

7. Do even more for Boys & Girls Clubs of America while you're at it.

For over 157 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has been helping kids achieve their dreams and reach their full potential. You can donate to their cause here and volunteer at your local BGCA here.

8. Maybe also buy a gift for a friend who's been having a tough time.

Little gestures like that mean the world, especially when they're unexpected. Plus it'll give them the opportunity to talk to someone who cares.

9. And on your way home from the sales, why not swing by a homeless shelter?

Image via iStock.

With your Black Friday haul in tow, you could likely find a shelter on your route that would be eager for some help on the holiday weekend. Maybe bring them some of your Thanksgiving leftovers? Here's a handy directory to find a homeless shelter near you.

10. Or visit with a lonely senior citizen.

After all, many doorbusters are over late night Thursday/early morning Friday, so you could have the whole day to visit a nursing home or assisted living center. You have no idea what a difference a warm face and pleasant conversation can make.

11. If you're not squeamish, giving blood is always a good move too.

Photo via iStock.

I know giving blood can make some people queasy, but since you probably ate a lot the day before, there's very little chance you'll pass out from it. And, more importantly, your donation might save a life.

You can donate blood to most hospitals, but they will likely require a mini-physical first to check your vitals. Find our more here.

12. Or, if you hate needles, go play with puppies and kittens at a shelter.

Photo via iStock.

Not only will volunteering at a local animal shelter improve the lives of pets waiting for a forever home, you'll probably have a blast doing it. And who knows, you may end up falling in love with one of the critters and taking them home with you. That's certainly one fantastic way to brighten your holiday weekend.

13. You can also help incarcerated families give gifts to their loved ones.

Angel Tree allows you to give donations to incarcerated people so they can buy their families gifts for the holiday season.

14. Or you can sponsor a family in need online.

Considering you just enjoyed a gorgeous Thanksgiving meal with your family, it seems only fitting to give back by helping another family receive the same.  Family-to-family allows you to sponsor a family in need by paying for a monthly box of groceries to be sent to their house.

15. You can also start a donation page on Facebook.

Yes, you can make a much bigger contribution to your charity of choice than you realize. Here's where to start.

16. And send assistance to hurricane/natural disaster victims.

The aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Dominica. Photo by Roosevelt Skerrit/Flickr.

In terms of catastrophic weather and natural disasters, this year has been particularly unforgiving. There are so many families still struggling to rebuild after Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria and the wildfires in California, so anything you're able to give will no doubt be much appreciated.

17. Rather be active? Start a game of capture the flag or touch football in your neighborhood.

You can knock on doors or send an email to see if nearby kids (or adults) could use some fun, aerobic activity.  

18. Less sports and more craft-inclined? Try making a little free library.

All you need is a small cupboard that will fit several books and something to sit it on, and you've got a mini public library. Create a little sign that says something like, "take a book, but please return or replace it with one of your own."

19. Speaking of books, you can volunteer at your local library too.

Photo via iStock.

If your library is open on Black Friday, you can offer your reading skills to kids' reading hours or, if you'd rather not perform, just help organize the stacks.

20. Spend the day writing thank-you notes to all your favorite local merchants.

It's such a nice, personal way to show local business owners that their presence in the neighborhood matters to you and your family.

21. And last, but definitely not least, you can fulfill the holiday wish of a child in need.

Through donations, school drives, and crowdfunding, the incredible organization Family Giving Tree acts as Santa Claus for children in disadvantaged communities. The goal is not only to make their lives better but to inspire philanthropy and kindness in people all over the world.

You can learn more about starting your own drive for this wonderful cause here.

Whether you shop, watch sports, hang with your family, or just chill at home in your new cozy socks, there are so many ways to give back on Black Friday.

All it takes is a generous spirit and a little out-of-the-box thinking to make the day about so much more than unbelievable deals.

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Old Navy Cozy Socks
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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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