hands holding matching rocks from the beach

It’s February, and love is in the air! This year, we encourage you to expand your expression of love beyond your spouse and family to your entire community. Why? Because Michigan City and La Porte County are pretty special! Our area is filled with amazing people, great businesses, worthy causes, and rich history. As individuals, we can continue to build up our community and reap the amazing rewards. Wonder how to do that? In this article we are sharing 14 ways to show our community love this Valentine’s Day.

14 Ways to Show Our Community Love

There are so many different ways to show our community love this month and all year round. No matter how you want to give or who the recipient is, there are unique ways for you to show our community love below.

1. Donate to a Cause

Our area is home to many nonprofits that are doing important work in the community. If there is a cause that you care about, consider giving a monetary donation this February as a Valentine’s ‘gift.’ Monetary donations allow nonprofits to pay for things like staffing and utility bills, and to fill in the gap of goods donations by purchasing items that are needed for daily operations.

Over here at Interfaith Community PADS, we are running a fundraiser called Be the Shelter’s Valentine! Your gift will support our work helping the homeless in our community. You can learn more about it on our Facebook page here, and make a donation here. 

2. Help a Neighbor

You can also show our community love by spreading love and kindness to those around you. Why not start with your neighbors? Maybe you can start to check in on your elderly neighbor or offer to help out with things like snow shoveling and lawn mowing. Maybe you can make a casserole for the busy single mom who lives down the street, or delight the family next door with a plate of cookies. There are so many ways you can help out your neighbors! And if you don’t know what your neighbor needs, just ask.

3. The Gift of Time

The gift of time is a wonderful gift to get ANYONE for Valentine’s Day. Chances are it’s on your spouse’s wish-list! And there are worthy causes in our community that could use your time too. Volunteering can be a one-time event or a recurring commitment every week or two. It can be as simple as doing dishes at a homeless shelter, or as specific as sharing your unique talents with an organization in need.

If you have a heart for the homeless, consider volunteering with us! 

4. Clean Up the Neighborhood

Look around you. Does it look like your neighborhood could use a little TLC? Another way to show our community love is to clean up garbage, graffiti, etc. that you see around your neighborhood. Litter may be buried in the snow right now, but when it emerges again in the spring, get a group together and set a goal to clean up your neighborhood.

5. Show Gratitude

One of the most heartfelt and helpful ways to show our community love is by simply showing gratitude to those around you. If you receive good service, or appreciate someone’s work, make sure to show your appreciation. Restaurant staff, store employees, hospital workers, teachers…we can show our community love by making sure that no job here is ‘thankless.’

6. Spread Cheer

Spreading cheer is another way to increase positivity in our community. Perhaps you have time to visit a nursing home, or write cards to sick people at our local hospital. Or maybe it’s as simple as a friendly smile and a hello. The number of ways you can spread cheer in our community is only limited to your imagination.

When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. (Psalm 94:19)

7. Shop (and Eat) Local

You can use your purchasing power to show our community love too. Our area is full of amazing local small businesses – shops and restaurants that could use your support! The pandemic has been tough on local brick-and-mortar stores, and now that we are ‘back in business’ you can show them love by choosing these small shops over chains. For a listing of businesses in our area, search the Michigan City Chamber of Commerce. 

8. Practice Patience and Kindness

Another way to show love as you go about your day-to-day business is to simply practice patience and kindness to those around you. Patience and kindness are choices and you can choose to be patient and kind in any circumstance you face. Individual choices stack up, so that our community can be known for its patience and kindness to others.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

9. Donate Food and Supplies

Another way to donate to nonprofits in our community is to donate the items that they need, whether it is food or other supplies. By finding out what the organization needs specifically, you can help their mission and make operations run smoother. You can also donate food and supplies to families that you know are in need.

10. Organize a Drive

Perhaps you’re feeling ambitious? Then we encourage you to take #1 or #9 up a notch and organize a donation drive to collect money, food or supplies for a charity of your choosing! Want some help getting started? Check out our article on How to Organize a Donation Drive.

11. Remember the Animals

So far our list has focused on what we can do for other people and organizations, but let’s not forget the animals! Organizations like the Michiana Humane Society and Fried’s Cat Shelter help find homes for stray animals in our community who need love to. If you are looking for a pet, adopt instead of buying one. And if you are looking for something to do, contact them to see how you can get involved.

12. Welcome Strangers

We get a lot of travelers passing through or vacationing in Michigan City and the La Porte County area, and why not? Our area is beautiful and others want to experience it too! The next time you notice someone from out of town, give them a friendly welcome and share a recommendation or two.

13. Offer Friendly Advice

Locals from our area often need advice too. For example, there are several private groups on Facebook for people from the Michigan City and/or La Porte area to talk about local topics and issues. Oftentimes, people will post asking recommendations or advice for businesses, services, or other questions they may have. If you are in a group like this, make sure to be friendly in your answers.

14. Support Community Events

A final way to show our community love is to support events happening in the community. For example, the Michigan City Mainstreet Organization helps to coordinate events like “First Fridays” and “Taste of Michigan City.” Organizations may hold their own events too – such as this benefit concert for our Michigan City Downtown Emergency Soup Kitchen which will take place in March 2022. 

There you have it – 14 incredible ways to show our community love this Valentine’s Day! But why stop in February? Keep these ideas in mind so you can show your love and support our community all year round!