5 Real-life Examples of Ordinary People Who Made an Extraordinary Difference

(BPT) – The idea of making a difference in our communities may sound impossible to many of us. With busy schedules, family demands and homes to care for, it can be hard to find the time and energy.

To motivate you to challenge yourself and give back, here are five everyday people who will inspire you. To recognize their selflessness, bravery and commitment to doing good in their communities, Hardee’s — known for real food, made right, served proud — is honoring these five All Stars, individuals who could have done things the easy way, but instead chose to do them the right way.

Here are the 2018 Hardee’s All Stars’ stories, along with key takeaways that can help you do good in your own community.

Caroline Lindner, Nashville Street Barbers: This hair stylist devotes one day of her week to serving the homeless through the nonprofit she founded, Nashville Street Barbers. On Mondays, she and other barbers head out to provide free haircuts to people in the homeless community.

Tip #1: Get in touch with your favorite nonprofit or organization and ask if they can use help from someone with your skill set — whether you’re an electrician or an accountant, some organization or charity will be grateful for your talents!

Gina Camelli, Paw Pantry: After noticing a rise in poverty in her district, this elementary school teacher in Warren, Ohio, wanted to help. She founded Paw Pantry, a nonprofit that provides clothing, food, school supplies and hygiene items for any student in the school district who is in need.

Tip #2: Your employer can be a powerful ally when it comes to making a difference in your community. Check to see if yours offers matching donations, gives employees paid time off to volunteer, or would be willing to donate their services, space or surplus supplies.

Jeffrey Thomas, Scarves for Students: While teaching special education at Lew Wallace School in Indiana, Thomas noted the large number of students who came to school with nothing warmer than a sweatshirt. Thomas got busy, clipping coupons and shopping sales, so he could make a large batch of brand new fleece scarves for all 650 students.

Tip #3: Many nonprofits will happily accept any monetary donation — but if you have a knack for scoring a great deal, that is a great way to optimize generosity. Check the website of your favorite local charity, and see if you can brainstorm some clever ways to knock a few things off their wish list in a cost-effective way.

Pastor Chris Williams, God’s Garage: One day, Pastor Chris Williams discovered a mother and child from his congregation walking along a highway, inspiring him to start God’s Garage to help single mothers, widows and wives of deployed military members with car repairs. Though Williams has no training in car mechanics, he found some volunteers who do, resulting in more than 300 vehicles fixed at no cost and 100 restored vehicles given away.

Tip #4: When inspiration hits, don’t let your lack of specialty or skills hold you back. Don’t be afraid to recruit friends, family members and co-workers to lend a hand. It may surprise you how willing they are to help.

Rodney Smith Jr., Raising Men Lawn Care Service: When the computer science student saw an older man struggling to push his lawn mower, he didn’t hesitate to help. From there he was inspired to create Raising Men Lawn Care Service, which helps people who lack the time, physical ability, resources or money to keep their yards maintained. In July, the organization met its goal by reaching its 50th state.

Tip #5: Whether you want to donate blood or volunteer at your local food pantry, setting goals can be a powerful way to motivate you to keep going. Keep track of your progress, so when you reach your goal you’ll feel great and have a visual reminder of the impact you made!

Here’s where you come in! Hardee’s is now taking nominations for its sixth All Star, who will be honored with a donation to support their cause. To nominate someone who goes out of their way to make a difference in their community visit www.hardeesallstars.com on or before October 9, 2018.