Getting Kids Involved in Giving

kidsfoodbankAt the close of the year we often think of others – those in our families, schools, at work, and throughout our communities. The spirit of giving abounds throughout the holidays. Organizations in many communities are making it easier for you to share the giving spirit with the children in your life. Whether helping at a food bank or making donations at home, here are a few ways you and your kids can get involved in helping others this season.

Feeding America

The Feeding America network of food banks is a great place to begin if you and your kids are interested in volunteering at or collecting donations for a local food bank. You can search for food banks or meal programs all over the United States.

For example, the Greater Chicago Food Depository offers monthly Kids Days in which kid ages 5-13 can volunteer at the depository. Each child must be accompanied by an adult. It is a great way to get your local organization or the whole family involved.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

When kids make a difference in other kids’ lives something magical happens. Parents, teachers, and group leaders can organize a fun event that makes a difference in both the lives of the student participants and the children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Check out the website to explore the many ways kids can support this great organization that is leading the way to fight childhood cancer and other childhood diseases.

Little ones will have a ball when their preschool or daycare hosts a Trike-a-Thon. Preschoolers learn and practice their peddling skills all while raising money for a wonderful cause. Check out this link to coordinate an event or find your school’s event and donate.

Older students in grade K-8th will learn the importance of helping others and practice their math skills when they participate in St. Jude’s Funbook Math-A-Thon. The website provides a weeklong math curriculum during which students solve grade-appropriate math problems. Students collect funds for the math problems they solve which can be completed online or printed for use at school or at home.

Project Linus

Blankets provide such comfort during the holidays, especially for kids who are sick or recovering in a hospital. The Project Linus organization donates blankets to children who are seriously ill or who have been traumatized. By becoming a “blanketeer,” you and the children in your life can get creative making colorful blankets and donating them to your local Project Linus chapter. Or consider donating supplies necessary for others to make cozy, homemade blankets.

Find a local chapter on the Project Linus website and check out the upcoming events or learn more about the organization and how to get involved. 

Do-It Yourself Donations & Crafts

Crafty animal lovers can host a party at home to create pet toys and beds for animals in shelters. The Anti-Cruelty Society collects the items to keep the animals busy and comfortable during their stay at the shelter.

Tutorials on the Anti-Cruelty Society’s website provide easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for making the various toys and a pet bed. Once completed, send the items  to the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago to give a dog or cat the comforts of home until they are adopted.

Generosity Close to Home

Sometimes it is easy to overlook the person across the street or in the upstairs apartment who could use a little generosity. On those cold winter days, bundle up the kids and help your neighbor shovel the sidewalks or clear off the snow from his car. Bring over a warm meal or if you are close to the neighbor, suggest playing board game all together on a snowy evening. It will be a special night everyone will remember and enjoy.

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