There’s something so magical about the holiday season that brings out the best in people. Our list of ways to give back is certainly not comprehensive but if you’re trying to teach kids about generosity this year, these eight ideas will get you started.
- Pack “Good Samaritan Bags”. Fill large zip-top bags and keep them in a box in your car. Hand them out whenever you see someone in need. Here’s what we put in our care packages for the homeless.
- Adopt a family in need. From a tree to presents underneath plus a feast on the table, you’ll have the chance to create an entire Christmas experience for a family that would otherwise go without. The Salvation Army can match you with a local family (Search “Salvation Army” plus your state or city for a local chapter.). Or adopt a refugee family. Foodlets reader, Jennifer, adopts a family every year through local NC organizations like World Relief and World Church Services. To find one near you, search “Adopt a refugee family near me”.
- Write letters to a soldier. Soldiers’ Angels has been pairing interested pen pals with U.S. soldiers for many years. Send a holiday card or better yet, keep writing all year. (We’re giving our kids stationery this year for just this kind of thing. Love these make-your-own-card kits and adorable stationary sets!)
- Buy gifts for kids with parents in prison. Organizations like Angel Tree will give you the ages of children, sizes and even a wish list for the toys of their dreams.
- Sponsor a child long-term. About nine years ago I read a book called “The Hole in the Gospel“. The author points out the overwhelming number of times in the bible when Christians are reminded to love each other, to support orphans, widows and the poor. It’s dead simple. Above all else, love God and look out for each other. We’ve sponsored children all over the world ever since. Right now we have seven kids under our wings and will add another this year. There are many organizations to choose from but the two we sponsor through are:
- Donate to a food bank. Focus on donating early in the month, since this is typically the busiest time of year for donations. And consider hosting a quarterly food drive or party with your school, church or neighborhood so you can help keep those shelves stocked when other people’s interest has lagged. For a can’t-miss shopping list, read: What food banks need most.
- Volunteer to take a mom’s small kids for an afternoon so she can shop, sleep or get her hair done. This one requires no middleman. We all know someone who could use a little time. But for heaven’s sake, be forceful about it. None of this “let me know if there’s anything I can do!” Email her with 3 dates and times and ask which of them works best for her. Then bring your brood over to her house, turn on the Netflix (here’s our list of great movies for kids under 10) and start babysitting!
- Help an elderly couple in your neighborhood. Pack up a week’s worth of food in disposable containers that you won’t want back. Be sure to leave enough time to visit for a while and if necessary, bring a little toy for kids to play with. When we visit our neighbors’ farm down the road, the kids get restless and it’s nice to have something for them to focus on while I chat with the farmers. Or get official with Meals On Wheels to pick up a delivery route near you.
Off to deliver a backpack full of dinner. Headed to our elderly neighbor’s farm to help out while his wife is in the hospital. His amazing stories span all the generations who’ve farmed the land since the civil war, so we come out pretty far ahead. #foodislove #sincethecivilwar (Foodlets slow cooker shredded chicken Tex-Mex)
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