Latter-day Saint Life

52 Ways to Give Simple, Bite-Sized Service

Service doesn't have to take hours of planning and a large group to carry it out. Sometimes it's making one small adjustment to the things we already do each day.

I had a friend who, whenever we were out walking, would never fail to find trash along the road and pick it up to throw away when we walked by a trash can. We never went out with the intention to pick up trash—it was just something she did whenever we were out.

Like my friend, we can all do service simply by being kind and thoughtful. People who are service-minded are naturally kind people because they are thinking of things they can do to help others. People who are kind are naturally service-minded because they are thinking of ways to be nice, such as serving. Instead of thinking of service as an overwhelming necessity to plan and prepare weeks in advance, try some of these simple service ideas—kind, helpful actions that will easily adopt themselves into your everyday life.

These ideas for stress-free, bite-sized service add up to one a week for a year if you wish to use them all!

  1. Pick up trash and throw it away. Don’t forget to throw away your own trash!
  2. Look for one person sitting alone at work, school, or a church activity. Genuinely ask how they are doing and talk with them. 
  3. Talk to someone you don’t normally talk to, whether in person or on the phone or via social media.
  4. Give an anonymous, encouraging note to a co-worker or neighbor.
  5. Focus on serving a roommate or family member this week. Make their bed for them, share the dinner you made, or lend them one of your possessions 
  6. Take some time to serve those on the other side of the veil. Visit the temple, maybe even with family names.
  7.  Find a place in the community to volunteer for a few hours, such as the soup kitchen, or a crossing guard for an elementary school.
  8. Do something extra for those that you home/visit teach. I.e. drop off a note or a plate of cookies, text them a scripture or a "thinking of you" message. 
  9. Try to hold the door open for someone else at least once a day. If someone holds the door open, make sure you smile at them and thank them.
  10. Give at least one sincere compliment a day to a different person.


  1. Send a letter or email to a relative you haven't talked to in a while. Make sure to ask thoughtful questions and share your love and/or testimony as you feel prompted by the Spirit.
  2. Volunteer to feed the missionaries, or donate a little extra to Fast Offerings.
  3. Take time this week to help someone in need. For example you could tutor a student in a subject you know well, cook extra food and bring dinner to someone who needs it, or help with a carpool.
  4. Make a positive comment on a website or blog.
  5. Think of something you are good at. Find a way to use it to benefit another person, such as with music, food, or a listening ear.
  6. Offer your seat to someone wherever you are.
  7. Do someone else’s household chore for them.
  8. Take time to talk to a homeless person you see frequently. A few kind words can go a long way.
  9. Help with kids in sacrament meeting. Sometimes Mom needs a little extra help with the kids.
  10. Give someone a ride. This could be a friend, an elderly person, or someone with an injury.


  1. Pay for the person behind you in a fast food line or a restaurant.
  2. If you live in a neighborhood where trash cans need to be taken to the curb, consider taking down or bringing up your neighbor’s cans for them.
  3. Give a random stranger a gift from their Amazon wish list.
  4. Mind your manners. Saying please and thank you, and being polite and respectful show that you are thinking of others and appreciate them.
  5. Leave quarters in candy machines for the next person.
  6. Give an unopened bottle of water to a bus driver, crossing guard, or someone else who doesn’t have access to fridge or sink for long periods of time.
  7. Visit someone that might be lonely. Whether is a single adult, a widow/widower, or someone who is bed-ridden, we all get a little lonely at times and appreciate a cheerful smile and kind word.
  8. Lend a pencil or give a piece of gum to someone. You might be surprised how often this opportunity arises at church alone!
  9. Leave sticky notes with uplifting thoughts in random places. A well-placed, brightly-colored sticky note can go a long way towards making someone’s day!
  10. Comment in classes on Sundays. You are serving the teachers by showing them you appreciate the time and effort they spent on their class.


  1. Thank veterans when you see them, or you could even write a letter to one. If you don’t know a veteran personally, there are plenty of places online that can help your letter go to a veteran without support from home.
  2. Let someone go in line in front of you. A few good places to do this might be at the grocery story, at the movie theater, or at a restaurant.
  3. Appreciate your waiter's service. Your waiter has served you, why not serve them by thanking them for the meal, looking them in the eye when you talk to them, and leave a generous tip?
  4. Donate clothing. A service-minded practice to consider might be to donate one shirt for every new shirt you buy.
  5. Share your umbrella with a stranger who’s walking the same direction as you on a rainy day. Most of the time, newspapers and hoodies just don’t cut it.
  6. Babysit for free. Kids are a lot of work, and volunteering to watch them for your family members or neighbors is a good, easy way to serve those you love by giving them one night to themselves.
  7. Put things back on the correct shelf when at the store. Store clerks will appreciate this.
  8. Let a car in front of you on the freeway during rush hour. This is a great way to practice patience and serve someone, as well as a good way to help prevent an accident.
  9. Listen sincerely to a friend and only give your opinion if it is asked for. A sincere attempt to listen will let your friend know that you care and are willing to serve and help them.
  10. Return your shopping cart to the designated areas. This is a great way to serve the store clerks who have to round up the carts, as well as the next person who want to park where you left your cart!


  1. Leave an item near an area it might be useful in – a book in a reading area, lotion in the bathroom at work, an umbrella near a door.
  2. Call the hospital and ask them who hasn’t have visitors for a while that you can send flowers to. 
  3. Invite a neighbor who lives alone or the missionaries to come to dinner, especially on a holiday.
  4. Smile at everyone you talk to today. 
  5. Hold the elevator for someone or offer to push the button for them if you are in front of the panel.
  6. Donate blood or volunteer to help support those who do with treats, encouragement, etc.
  7. Don’t pass along gossip. Balance negative comments with positive ones and serve the person who is being talked about.
  8. Offer to take a photograph for someone or give them directions if they look lost. Sometimes people are hesitant to ask a passing stranger for help, so volunteer!
  9. Send someone a gift or card or give them a call on their birthday. This is a great way to show someone that you are thinking of them.
  10. Carry a pass-along card or Book of Mormon with you in your bag to give to someone during your week.
  11. Volunteer to give a prayer or substitute for someone at church. 
  12. Replace an activity you do for yourself (i.e. social media) with one of these service thoughts.

We came across this touching commercial the other day. The message behind it is an inspiring reminder that service can easily be adapted into our daily activities. Have some other ideas for simple service? Share them in the comments below! 

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