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Eight Suggestions for Reviving a Culture of Service (With a Smirk)

Tomorrow, President Obama will be sworn in for his second term. His inauguration coincides with MLK weekend, traditionally a weekend for citizens to participate in community service. This year is no different, save for the Tea Party’s decision to demonstrate their acute allergy to class by simultaneously holding their Gun Appreciation Day. I am not making that up.

While a single day of service is noble, our communities need citizen involvement far more frequently. That’s why GOOD HQ is urging the community to give 1 percent of their time to service in 2013. If you work 40 hours a week, 1 percent is a mere 20 hours a year. Encourage your friends, family, and coworkers to participate. Start a club, maybe call yourselves “The 1 Percent.” Everyone will love you.

We thought it’d be wise to offer a few early suggestions as to what you can do with your service, so here are a few favorites from our volunteering playbook:

The Bone Thugs — Encourage family and friends to register as bone marrow donors. It’s quick and easy and all done through the mail, leaving time for you to work on improving your puns.

The College Applicant — Start a blood drive for LGBT Eskimos launching a sustainable aquaculture microfinance startup. If no such opportunity exists, just donate blood every two months through the Red Cross.

The McSweeney — Spend a couple hours a month at your local library participating in adult literacy or youth reading programs. Encourage pupils to pen acerbic open letters to inanimate objects or imagined journal entries of long-dead authors.

The Buzzfeed — Volunteer at the ASPCA or local Humane Society for a morning to help out with the animals. Take pictures of the most adorable ones to publish online later with the title 14 Faces That Will Make Your Day AWESOME.

The Na’vi — Rally friends to do an afternoon of beach or park cleanup, trail maintenance, or tree planting. Host a victory BBQ afterward. When friends ask where you got such a great idea, don’t tell them your friend Fern came up with it 17 years ago.

The Whole Foods — Help out at a soup kitchen once a month. Learn to prepare a delicious and healthy minestrone. Realize mid-stir that if rebranded under a popular grocer’s label, your pot of soup could buy a 3 bedroom / 2 bath on an acre lot in a great school district.

The Paul Newman — Organize a food drive of delicious pasta sauces, salad dressings, cereals, snacks, and other non-perishables and canned goods. Deliver your haul to a Food Bank and announce loudly, “What we have here… is a failure.... to comprehensively provide for those who can’t afford the basic staples of a healthy diet.” See yourself out.

The Paul Ryan — Spray water on clean dishes for 90 seconds while your picture is taken then leave to go blast your pecs.*

*Please don’t do this.

GOOD HQ is challenging the community to commit to service throughout 2013. Go here to pledge 1 percent of your time—that’s 20 hours—being part of the solution this year.

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