for developing these habits (abstaining from manifestation of fetters), while not necessary for eliminating potentials (fetters, sankaras), service is a very important tool among many (for letting go, for happiness, and for developing wholesome qualities). however it will not purify the mind from these underlying fetters, which can only happen in these path moments. in a sense it is therefore auxiliary, while it can also be an integral part of the path along along the lines of sila in general. dana paramis needed vary depending on the person, and their ambitions on the path (fundamental bodhisatta parami). to an extent this comment was made in haste having immersed myself unquestioning in so much burmese abhidhamma over the years which holds its not needed at all for arahatship (e.g. ledi sayadaw). service, along with prayer, devotion, and so on is very helpful advice pertaining to this subject, and to support the eightfold path as a whole.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php