A fellow blogger of mine regularly participates In a simple community initiative that has impact on her community.
There are all kinds of little things we can all do to help support our neighbors, and in turn ourselves. Fleck out her post, and start looking for little hinge you can be involved in.
Other easy ways to affect change are to buy from socially mindful companies that give back, like Toms shoes or Ten Tree apparel. We, the people have all the power, even if we have been taught otherwise.