Most people when they see the word ‘giving’ think of money. And many people literally have no money to give. Many of us are struggling – not all of us financially. Many times money is not the answer. Giving of yourself can mean so much,  yet it can be so easy as well as self rewarding. Give a smile. Give a hand to hold a door. Give the gift of helping. Help someone to load groceries into their vehicle. Take the empty grocery cart back to the store – use it. Let someone pull out into traffic in front of you. Smile at and talk to children. Be patient with those in line ahead of you. Offer to help your neighbor. A person living alone might not ask for help, but sometimes you can see when they need it. There are so many little ways you can make a big difference in someone’s life.

Another wonderful way of giving is the gift of time. There are so many groups that really need your help to give to the community in which you live. Whatever your interest, you can find a way to help in that area – whether it is cats, dogs, knitting, golf, greeting people, literacy, education, children, culture, art, wildlife and more. Here is a list of some of the groups in Brunswick County, NC that would love to have your help.

Brunswick County Literacy Council, Inc.

Brunswick Family Assistance Agency

Hope Harbor Home

Sheltered Treasures 

Blankets with Love

Communities in Schools of Brunswick County

The First Tee Brunswick County

Providence Home of the Family Emergency Teen Shelter, Inc.


Brunswick County Arts Council 

Brunswick County Intercultural Festival

Brunswick County Habitat for Humanity

Friends of the Oak Island Lighthouse

North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport

Smith Island Museum of History

Southport Visitors’ Center


Pets take many shapes and forms, from ferrets to snakes to hamsters, but the most popular pets are still dogs and cats. They are by far the easiest to care for and, if treated well, can become like family. When you have pets, it’s important to think of them as family. You would never keep a member of your family on a chain outside, nor would you leave him or her behind when you move. Yet some people do treat their pets this way. If these pets are lucky, they will find themselves in no kill shelters where they may be adopted by someone else who will treat them well. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Feral cats are a case in point. When cats are left on their own without having been neutered, they reproduce in the wild and their offspring become wild. I would like to suggest if you are considering adopting a pet that you don’t get it from a puppy farm or insist on a pure bred animal. There are so many loving animals in shelters that need homes. Even a feral cat can become a loving pet. I trapped one 15 years ago and had her neutered – then found that I could not turn her loose. She was definitely wild (I had to keep her in a large cage in the beginning and wear welder’s gloves to handle her). She became my indoor cat – constant companion and friend for 15 years until she died earlier this year. There are shelters in Brunswick County, NC where you can find any kind of cat or dog and there is a feral cat club as well where you can help to prevent the proliferation of feral cats in a humane way. Check them out here:

Paw’s Place Dog Rescue in Winnabow, NC: (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/volunteer/animal-care/paws-place-dog-rescue/profile/)

Oak Island Feral Cats Club: (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/volunteer/animal-care/oak-island-feral-cats-club/profile/)

Southport-Oak Island Animal Rescue (SOAR): (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/volunteer/animal-care/southport-oak-island-animal-rescue-soar/profile/)