You’d like to be generous, but don’t have any money. You’d love to save the children in Mexico, build a school in India, drill water wells in Ethiopia, sponsor a widow in Sri Lanka and put shoes on all the orphans in Somalia.

However, you’ve got $27 in the bank and the rent’s due next Friday.

So, what can you do? Here are six ideas:

1. Volunteer your time!

You’ll be surprised the response you’ll get if you ask your church whether they need anybody to do any volunteer work. More than likely they have a long list of needs – ranging from somebody to sort and file the last 20 years of Sunday school and Vacation Bible School materials – to somebody who would paint the steeple, caulk the baptistery, teach the Golden Agers class, help drive the seventh graders to weekend events or “adopt” the church kitchen, agreeing to clean it up once a week.

Don’t have a church? Then call up one of these and ask if they need volunteers:
               The Salvation Army
               Goodwill Industries
               Your local food bank
               Your local animal shelter
               Your local nursing home
               Your local hospital
               The YMCA or Boys & Girls Club
               Your city’s park & recreation department

You may be astonished at the needs.

2. Donate your hair!

If you have an extra 10 inches of healthy hair, you can donate it to a number of organizations that will make it into wigs for people who have lost their own hair. Lots of people lose their hair due to cancer treatments, alopecia, burns and others – but don’t have extra money to buy a wig.

That’s where you come in. It doesn’t cost a thing to grow your hair.

There’s been a lot of publicity over the past few years related to hair donation, including Hillary Swank’s highly public haircut on Oprah.

Before you take the plunge and donate your hair, however, make sure you do your homework in choosing a charity, take great care of your hair and have lots of patience! Hair only grows about half an inch a month, so it takes a while to get those 8-to-12 inches needed to donate.

3. Dig out your old cellphones!

Somewhere in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan are soldiers who want nothing more than to make a phone call to their loved ones. The value of a phone is immeasurable. Check out Cell Phones for Soldiers .

However, it’s not the only such charity.

Discarded cell phones account for nearly 65,000 tons of toxic waste each year. Cell phone recycling is critical because each improperly disposed cell phone can pollute up to 132,000 liters of water.

More than 500 million unwanted cell phones are either awaiting disposal in the home, or seeping hazardous lead, mercury, cadmium, brominated flame retardants, and arsenic into the environment. And with new features available every year, a cell phone’s average life is now less than 18 months, adding more than 140 million cell phones (and their batteries) to our landfills each year. That’s 2.5 million toxic mobile phones dumped each week. Because the United States has yet to establish federal regulations requiring mobile phone recycling, only about 10 percent of cell phones are currently being donated or recycled.

The good news is that mobile phone manufacturers have recognized the need for cell phone recycling, stepping up their efforts to stop this enormous threat to the environment. National mobile phone carriers have instigated mobile phone recycling take-back plans, accepting unwanted cell phones at any of their retail locations nationwide.