I thought about this post while I was lying on a trolley in the hall of my local leisure centre, with a tube and a tourniquet. The man next to me called it a “civic duty”.
It’s not a duty. You don’t HAVE to give blood. Some people can’t, for reasons medical or arbitrary. But it is a good thing to do, and I can do it.
I’ve become more aware over the past twelve months of my own incredibly fortunate position. I’m white, able-bodied, financially comfortable. I live in Scotland which is a pretty swell place to be at the moment. I own my own house and drive my own car. I was able to walk away from a job that was damaging my mental health without any financial repercussions. I don’t face any discrimination for my religious beliefs or sexuality. Privilege seems to be a dirty word right now, but I’m not too dumb to recognise my own, and the more I do the more I feel like I have to give something back.
Maybe it is a duty, after all.
If you’re in the same position I am, here are some of the things you can do to be an all-round swell human being.
I’ve already said that some people are excluded from this, but if you can, you should. It’s painless, they take a TINY bagful and I’ve never seen anybody pass out dramatically in a sports hall. Worst that’ll happen is you’ll be tired and have a slight headache. Go in the evening and then sleep it off. You’ll save a life.
You can learn more here, or here if you’re in Scotland.
Join the organ donor register
This one is EASY. You don’t even have to do anything except fill in a tiny form and then tell your loved ones that you’ve done it. The rest happens after you die. It might actually be the least amount of effort required to do anything ever. I’ve had naps that were more taxing.
You can learn more here.
Donate to your local food bank
Yes, we shouldn’t have food banks. The sad fact is that we do, and people rely on them. a A lot of supermarkets have donation points and when I go shopping, I like to buy two or three things to throw in. Doesn’t have to be food, and trust me, EVERYBODY buys tins. Go for something else. UHT milk. Toiletries like toothpaste and shampoo. Condiments. Tea and coffee. Biscuits.
And actually, while we’re on the subject:
Donate sanitary products to your local food bank.
Surprise! Food banks don’t just give out food. Period poverty is real, people, and take it from me: those are NOT something you can go without. AT ALL. EVER. They’re not a luxury. Please throw some Always in there. Do it for me.
Support small content creators
So YouTube recently (I suspect in response to the Logan Paul shitshow) changed the goalposts for the criteria YouTubers were required to meet in order to monetise their channels. This means that for a lot of smaller content creators,
A lot of people make videos because they’re passionate about what they’re talking about. A lot do it because they love the community and want to be part of it. But for some it is an income source and one that makes a big difference, so to have that suddenly cut off is a big deal.
So whatever your hobby is, be it books, games, competitive llama grooming, whatever it is, I guarantee that there are a bunch of smaller, hobbyist YouTubers making videos purely for the love. Step outside the big guns and look for some of them. You’ll never find a more enthusiastic, unconditional community.
I don’t mean start a blog and start waxing lyrical about books. Literally take a minute or two to give a book you loved or a game you played for hours or a really cool artist a review on Amazon, or Goodreads, or Etsy. It’s the easiest (and most valuable) way to give something back to a crea
If you have them on Twitter, drop them a note as well telling them! I’m not even an author and every time someone tells me they look forward to reading my posts I get a warm fuzzy feeling that melts my cynical heart.
What have I missed? What else can I be doing to give something back? Let me know in the comments!