Wichitans are well-known for their friendly nature. You don't have to travel far before having a door opened by a stranger and an endearing smile to boot. What sets our city apart from others is our determination to keep the small-town feel in a not-so-small town. As blessed Wichitans of an hospitable city, we each carry a calling to do our part.

Here are 7 small but influential ways to make Wichita Falls a better place.

1. Think Globally, Act Locally

It's never been easier to recycle for Wichitans. River Bend Nature Center, United Market Street and Sikes Senter Mall offer Single Stream recycling bins that don't require prior separation. You can also participate in the Wichita Falls Choose to Reuse curbside pick up program. There's no reason not to "Go Green" now. Being environmentally friendly is not only better for our community but better for our planet. Utilize reusable bags at the grocery store and do away with Styrofoam products altogether. Conserve water and energy resources from your home and make it a family effort. Tell Earth "Thank You" by planting a tree. Small changes in lifestyle can mean big changes for our environment.

wichita falls recycling
Recycling Bin in Wichita Falls

2. Put Your Vote Where Your Ballot Is

7 different proposals will be voted on during the new bond election conducted on May 5. Propositions with the potential to raise property taxes and decisions on how to spend over 130 million dollars. Your ballot is your voice. Use it. Early voting for Wichita County elections and Secretary of State will begin February 20 through March 2. Make your voice heard by phoning a legislator. Keep your elected officials honest by making them good on their promises. Call them concerning serious federal issues or even attention-deserving local matters. It's never too early to be considering who to elect on November 6 for United State Senator. No matter your political affiliation, be sure you "ballot" responsibly; be informed. Research without prejudice and have civil conversations among friends.

(Photo by Marty Melville/Getty Images)
(Photo by Marty Melville/Getty Images)

3. Support the "Ma's and Pa's" of Wichita Falls

Make an intentional and regular effort to support our hometown diners and grocers. Keep your hard-earned money inside the Falls. Explore a new, locally-owned store. Downtown Wichita Falls is a good starting place, offering versatility for the family or for date night. You can rest easy in our local establishments with available owners and thoughtful meals, free of MSG. Service is an equally important piece of your dining experience and Wichitans know how to make you feel at home.

Hello Again Wichita Falls
Hello Again - Downtown Wichita Falls

4. Keep the Falls Clean

We've all heard, “Don't mess with Texas." Our scenic countrysides should be filled with lightening bugs, lady bugs but never litterbugs. Even if you aren't the litterbug in question, place it in a trashcan before it makes a debut in our beloved lakes or mistaken as food for our wildlife. What could seem harmless, like a soda straw, is potentially fatal for our aquatic friends. You don't have to travel far to keep our town clean though. Maintaining a well-kept yard will keep you in good graces with your community while keeping the unwanted company away.

Volunteers Picking Up Trash

5. Help a Lil' Wichitan

Have you ever met a kid without a story to tell? Light up a child's day by offering a listening ear. It takes a village to raise a child and children grow up to be adults. We all have a responsibility ensuring future Wichitans are well-rounded. Volunteerism through sports or any of our Boys and Girls Clubs is a great option for those wanting to share the gift of time. Download the AmazonSmile App or visit smile.amazon.com to donate to local charities.

soccer coach giving advice to young football team
Ingram Publishing

6. Help a Displaced Wichitan

An unfortunate reality for Wichitans is not all Wichitans are residents, meaning not all Wichitans have homes to reside in. Host a drive collecting food or items for our city-wide neighbors. Faith Mission and Faith Refuge are in continuous need of personal hygiene items. You can help by first learning about our homeless community in Wichita Falls. Partner with outreach programs, advocate through church and always remember smiles are free of charge.

Homeless sleeping on the street

7. Acknowledge our Public Servants

There are a number of public servants we have to thank for our safety and freedoms. You know, those people that are only noticed when we need them? Make an effort to show your gratitude without out the emergency. Write them a nice letter or make a point to stop the next one you see. Just be sure you're not speeding down the highway to thank them.

Wichita Falls Police (Dave Diamond/Townsquare Media)
Wichita Falls Police (Dave Diamond/Townsquare Media)

In a community as warm as Wichita Falls, we can each pay homage to our home in small ways. The list is ongoing and only as limited as our imagination. Let's be the change we want to see in our city, state and world. It's the little things that matter.

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