It is our desire to teach our kids to give back to their communities, so here are 4 easy ways that you can involve your kids in giving back.
Teaching our kids to give to others is one of our family’s core values. I think that parents can sometimes make partaking in charitable activities harder than it has to be, though.
While, ideally, we would love to volunteer more frequently with our kids and take them on more mission trips one day, there are other simple ways they can give back locally.
1) Give a Food Basket
A lot of times we only think about donating food to a local food pantry around the holidays, but the truth of the matter is that they need food all year around. Something as simple as involving you kids in putting together a food basket for a local soup kitchen can leave an imprint on their hearts and help the local community at the same time.
We decided to visit Walmart and get the items for a food basket. This feels like a win-win–we are donating the foods we purchased for the basket to our local soup kitchen and Unilever will be feeding families through our purchases as well!
2) Donate Clothes or Toys
We have been going through our house and decluttering clothes and toys, so we have a pile of stuff to donate right now.
Now that our kids our older, we are involving them in the process of donating their own clothes or toys. If they don’t wear or don’t particularly like something that is still in good shape, they can put it in the donate pile.
The same goes with toys. This one is a little harder because as soon as we go to donate a toy it becomes that child’s favorite item in the whole world…even though they haven’t touched it in 6 months.
In these cases, we try to refocus them on the other toys that they have and give them some perspective on how much another child might enjoy playing with the toy they haven’t used in a while.
3) Request Birthday Donations
Because our kids already have so much and receive gifts from family members, we often request donation items for their birthday parties. We do alternate from year to year, but this has become kind of a tradition.
We give them some choices of organization they could request donations for, and they have chosen charities like the local pregnancy center (diapers, bottles, etc.), the food pantry (canned or non-perishable goods), and Levine’s Children’s Hospital (board games or giant color books).
Once everything is collected, we then take them to actually donate the items in person so that they can see a tangible gift and make a connection.
4) Pay it Forward
This is something can literally or figuratively do.
There are times when we have collected changed for various ministries or charities, and they literally pay it forward by putting any spare change they have or find into a jar or bottle to be donated to the charity.
Our older girls have also looked for ways to help others without being prompted by us. They have pulled in trash cans for elderly neighbors or asked to bake cookies to take to the lonely widow down the street.
My husband loves to buy $10 gift cards to Chick-Fil-A or somewhere and anonymously gift them to civil servants like EMTs, police, and fire. Or he’ll pay for their meal without them knowing.
There are so many little things that can be done to brighten someone’s day even within your own neighborhood.
Bonus: Snacks/Sandwiches on the Go
One thing we have done is try to have snacks like protein bars and nuts in the car to give out to people who need food. You can place them in a baggie and have a few baggies in the car to hand out as needed
Also, if you know that you are going to be an area with a lot of homeless people or those needing food, you can make some sandwiches to give out.