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.
I teach my daughter that we are lucky and should be grateful for all we have and that we all need each other. The first "big thing" my daughter and I did together was to separate toys and clothes for donation. We found a center for children less fortunate than us close by and went there to drop it off. I'm not sure how much my daughter really understands yet, but I hope with time the act of giving, gratitude and kindness will grow into her heart.
If you take a moment to look around there is always someone that will need help.
Whenever I’m out walking around with my 15 yr old, we usually will see homeless people, both young and old, asking for spare change which is really heartbreaking. So, we started talking about different ways to help them and came up with an idea to use an empty jar to collect spare change from everyone in the family. Once it's completely full we will cash in the coins and get a money order for that amount to be mailed to the local Salvation Army.
As a momma to three I spend lots of time planning their birthday celebrations. Birthday celebrations are a big deal in our house! My children’s birthdays also provide a memorable teaching moment. My kiddos are fortunate to have a party and receive many gifts; however, many children are not. One in five children are fighting homelessness here in the United States and one in five lack access to adequate food. When these parents have to choose between food and shelter or a birthday party they always have to choose the basic needs.