Thank you so much to Katelynne (aka The Disguised Supermom), our newest regular contributor who will be bringing us wonderful simple service ideas all the way from Connecticut! Read more about Katelynne at the end of this post.
Simple Service: Grocery Shopping for Others
It can be easy to get caught up in the “me, me, me” mentality of today’s society, especially for kids. This is why it is so important to teach them from an early age how important serving others is and to always be on the look-out for ways we can help those that are struggling. When your kids are young, it can be hard to find volunteer opportunities and the goals of many non-profit organizations simply go over the heads of little ones. That doesn’t mean it is impossible, though!
One of my favorite ways to get the kids involved in giving back is by taking them Grocery Shopping for Others. We have a vibrant food pantry in our town that serves a few hundred local families. The idea of being hungry is something all kids can understand and even the youngest of kids can understand the difficulty of not having food.
We regularly donate to the food pantry and the kids are almost always with me when we drop the donations off. However, putting them in charge of the entire process is an easy way to give them a sense of responsibility and decision making. It also helps them understand the purpose of what we are doing.
Here are the basic steps to do this service project with your own family:
Decide ahead of time what type of budget your kids will have. This doesn’t have to be huge, whatever you can do! For us, we had 3 kids who would be shopping and they were each given $15 to spend.
Explain the outing to your kids. This can be done on the way to store and doesn’t have to be complex. Mention how some people can’t afford groceries and by donating food to the food pantry, we can help make sure they have enough to eat.
Bring the kids to the grocery store, preferably on a day/time that the store isn’t overly crowded.
Tell the kids what their budget is and that they are free to spend it as they see fit (within reason of course!). My favorite part of this entire project is seeing what the kids choose. My daughter (who is 6) immediately said, “I’m getting baby food – the babies need to eat also!” What an obvious and practical thought but one that my adult mind just didn’t think of.
If you’re paying in cash, let the kids each check out their own purchases.
Bring your food directly to the food pantry to donate. Some food pantries will give you a tour of their facility if you call ahead, which can help kids to fully understand the entire process.
I’m constantly in awe of how amazing kids are by nature. The first time we discussed the food pantry, what its purpose was and why we donated food, the kids instantly reacted with “well if someone can’t buy food, of course we would give them some!” It was as simple as that. There is a need and we should meet that need.
Teaching kids to serve others who are less fortunate can seem overwhelming but I encourage you not to overthink it! The smallest acts of kindness will grow in our children and teach them to always think of others.
About the Author:
Katelynne is married to her high school sweetheart and a stay at home mom to 4 little ones in Connecticut. When she is not managing the house or homeschooling her little ones, she provides encouragement and practical ideas for other homemakers and mamas through her blog The Disguised Supermom. Her passion is supporting these women, lifting them up and giving them tangible ways to ease the stress that comes from each aspect of their life.