As we embrace all that comes with the holiday season ahead and show extra gratitude this year for health, happiness, and security in our lives, there is no better time to give back to those less fortunate. Teaching children about gratitude along with the importance of volunteerism, empathy and taking care of others is an essential part of their emotional growth, and the holiday season is a time to bring those ideas into action. Consider volunteering your time and resources to help those in need by choosing one of our ways to give back.
Volunteer at a local food pantry
Nothing turns your teachings into a reality quite like showing your children what giving back means firsthand. Find a local food pantry or food bank and volunteer a few hours of your time to those in need. You can do anything from organizing the pantry to serving warm meals on a special holiday. There may be no greater feeling than helping those in your community who are in need. This is an ideal volunteer idea for kids 8 and up. After your volunteer time, sit down with your child and have a heart-to-heart about the experience. They may want to turn this one-time trip into a monthly occurrence.
Send letters of gratitude to deployed troops
If you’re in search of a more social-distanced volunteer opportunity that still bores the fruits of your care, consider putting together care packages for our troops overseas. Oftentimes many of our military men and women miss big holidays with their families as they defend our freedoms overseas. Show them appreciation by sending them handmade cards or necessity packages from your family. There are various non-profit organizations who can provide you with the details of what troops need, such as Operation Gratitude or a local USO office. Bring a smile to a deployed soldier’s face this holiday season and your family will be forever changed by this gesture.
Start an online fundraiser
Living in the age of digital, starting an online fundraiser is a breeze. If you’re looking to support a cause that is near and dear to your heart, online platforms, such as Facebook or GoFundMe, can help you ask others for donations. Work as a family to pick an organization that means something to you or your community. Create a campaign monetary goal and craft a write up that tells others why this cause is so important to you. Reach out to family and friends and ask for their support on this give-back venture. Once the campaign is closed, the funds can be directly sent to your organization of choice.
Host a local food drive
Another way to help a local food pantry in your area is to host a food drive at home. Work with the food pantry to come up with a list of needs and ask others in your neighborhood and community to donate them to you. You can set up collection boxes outside of your house or work in conjunction with your child’s school to collect goods. Once everything is collected you should deliver the collection to your local food pantry, together, as a family.
Donate your gently used goods
Each season, as our children grow through their clothes, it’s a good idea to clean out your closet. This season make it an intentional choice to go through your belongings before the winter season hits. Set aside gently used clothes that no longer fit your family and donate them to a local homeless shelter. These direct donations help those in your community who struggle with homelessness, ensuring they have clean, well-fitting clothes to get through the cold season. After the first time, this is sure to become a seasonal tradition for your family.
When it comes to celebrating the holiday season, nothing feels more joyous than bringing joy to others, especially those in need. Make it a family tradition to donate goods and volunteer your time to those in need this year and for years to come.