Yeah, yeah, February 14th is a day for love. Or something. Are you over the humdrum traditions of cards with corny pick-up lines and cootie catchers giving you random wisdom? This year, instead of celebrating Singles Awareness Day with heart-shaped candies or spending an exorbitant amount on flowers that have been ridiculously marked up, have a heart. Here are a few ways to share the love in a different way.
What better way to prove your love for your fellow human than by helping them out? See if you can volunteer at your local food pantry this Valentine’s Day. Soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and food pantries see a huge increase in volunteers in November and December, but they still need help the rest of the year. Bring a date or bring your whole crew and show that you care.
You can also check out DoSomething.org for volunteer opportunities for you and all your friends. You don’t even have to go out of your way for most of these. They have causes you can help that follow the Valentine’s theme, like supporting all the love, spreading the word on consent, or helping out your recently single friends.
Donate some red
You only need to be 17 to donate blood in most states—16 in some, with parental consent. Blood pumpers (hearts) are on everyone’s mind February 14, so why not use the one you have to help potentially save a life? You can even turn it into a fun date. Just grab your SO, share a light meal, donate, and split a snack! You can check if your school is hosting a blood drive soon, see if the closest hospital collects blood, or visit an American Red Cross location near you.
Heal a heart
Again, hearts are literally everywhere—fitting for romance and National Heart Month! This Valentine’s Day, you could save a few hearts from disease and stroke. See if one of your clubs is willing to host a fundraiser, like selling flowers or a bake sale, and donate the money raised to an organization geared toward fighting heart disease, like the American Heart Association. No one wants a broken heart on Valentine’s Day—fight heart disease to mend all the broken hearts (in the non-metaphorical sense).
Give a heart
Did you know February 14 is also National Organ Donor Day? That means while you celebrate with chalky, heart-shaped candies, someone is celebrating a human who gave them a heart-shaped organ. If you’re 18 or older, you can be an organ donor too. Just check the “yes” box when you apply for or renew your driver’s license or state ID. You can also go to your state’s organ donor registry to register at any time.
Read a book
Riddle me this, Batman: what love is stronger than the kind you feel for your favorite book? Luckily February is also National Library Lover’s Month, so you can show your love for all the books, not just your favorite, this Valentine’s Day.
Mosey on down to your local public library, not just the one at school, and see what you can do to help out. You and your friends could probably put up flyers in the hallways encouraging other students to get library cards. Talk to your librarian about hosting a Blind Date with a Book event and help people find their literary soulmate. Or just bring your sweetheart to the library for a cute Valentine’s date. What’s a more romantic place than the library? (It worked for the Beast.)
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Also, if you’re someone who ran out of shelf space for books years ago (guilty), consider donating some of those books to the library. It’s the ultimate sacrifice, but think of how many more people can read those books if you donate them. Plus, imagine how many more books you can get if you make more space. That’s a win-win!