Seven small steps you can take to make 2019 a better year

By Divya Amladi

Forget about resolutions—here are some goals you’ll actually want to keep.

1. Stop wasting your food

Artwork: Oxfam America

There’s no better time than the start of a new year to take stock of the food you’re throwing away. Nobody wants to be wasteful, but with busy schedules and post-holiday reunions, sometimes best-laid plans for a delicious feast end up on the backburner, and groceries end up in the trash.  

By being more thoughtful about your meals, buying only what you need from the grocery store, and saving and repurposing leftovers, you can reduce food waste and conserve resources.

Learn how you can Eat for Good by checking out Oxfam’s guide to shopping and eating sustainably, which includes healthy recipes that use less meat and help you cook smart.

2. Invest in girl power

Exhaustion from walking miles to school every day was interfering with the girls’ education at Chembera secondary school in Balaka District, Malawi. After receiving bicycles from Oxfam, their commute to school is no longer a barrier to learning. Photo: Corinna Kern/Oxfam

The majority of people living in extreme poverty are women and girls. All around the world, women face discrimination and inequality, in forms such as gender violence, unequal treatment at home and in the workplace, or lack of opportunities for education.

Yet, we have seen that women are powerful and resilient. That’s why Oxfam works to empower women, communities, and organizations to generate new opportunities for women and girls, and create change in social and political sectors.

Read more about Oxfam’s work to help women and girls achieve their potential.

3. Question fishy corporate practices

Dewi worked at a shrimp processing plant in Indonesia until she was eight months pregnant. She was not allowed to take maternity leave, so she had to quit her job. Photo: Adrian Mulya/The Sustainable Seafood Alliance Indonesia

Millions of people around the world who farm, fish, and process the food in our stores—particularly those in the seafood industry—are working extremely long hours, toiling in unsafe conditions, and earning only poverty wages. For instance, when you buy packaged shrimp at large grocery chains such as Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, and Giant, only 6 cents from each dollar you spend goes to the people who fished or peeled that shrimp.  If you think that’s fishy, visit behindthebarcodes.org to find out what you can do to help.

4. Jam along with Oxfam

Adam Thompson and Thao Nguyen from Thao & the Get Down Stay Down volunteering with Oxfam at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee in 2014. Photo: Coco McCabe

Throughout history, we’ve seen that music has the power to fuel a movement. That’s why Oxfam has joined forces with musicians, festival organizers, and the greater music industry to amplify our efforts to end the injustice of poverty.

Are you looking for a new band to follow, or a song to uplift your soul? Our supporters include Mavis Staples, The National, Neko Case, and more. Check out and follow our Friends of Oxfam playlist.

Want to get more involved? Consider hosting a benefit performance for Oxfam. Here’s how you can host your own Oxfam jam.

5. Read more

A reading list from your friends at Oxfam America.

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to read more this year? Or do you simply want to learn more about poverty? Oxfam has compiled a list of our favorite books that illustrate poverty to help you fill out your bookshelf.

6. Shop smarter

A young girl in Mozambique shows off a goat she received through an Oxfam Gift project. Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam

When you shop local, you’re not only putting money into businesses in your own community, but you have a better idea of where the food and products you’re purchasing come from—and who produced them.

For something out-of-the ordinary, considering giving a gift that makes a difference. When you buy an Oxfam Gift, you’re actually making a donation to help people living in poverty. Make someone happy—or hey, just treat yourself—with a symbolic present, like a pair of goats or books for school children—and support someone else in need.

7. Step up in your community

Oxfam America volunteer Alyssa Hartman serves food at an Oxfam outreach event. Photo credit: Coco McCabe / Oxfam America

Fighting poverty and injustice around the world starts in your backyard. There are a number of ways you can volunteer in your community—whether for Oxfam or an organization that fights hunger where you are.

Get involved in an Oxfam event, or learn how you can host your own fundraiser.

Interested in finding more ways to make the world better in 2019? Join our community.

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