Volunteers do more than help other people or their communities.
They teach, by example, charity to their children. With all the hustle and bustle that surrounds the holidays each year, we can forget important things that don’t make it onto our printed calendars.
November 20 was National Family Volunteer Day. We did not forget the day but preparing for Thanksgiving does rush us along and this very important day can be overlooked.
What better way to kick off the Holiday Season than to teach, by our very own examples, just how volunteerism helps our neighbors and communities grow and flourish. The volunteer spirit is born in most of us. As we grow older, we realize that there is no better way to grow healthy, happy families than to share and care. By exhibiting a giving spirit; a loving and caring hand; and smiles (instead of scowls) to those less fortunate than ourselves, it is possible to ingrain the volunteer spirit into our family life.
How to spread the volunteer spirit.
Here is southern Kansas, in the Wichita metro area we have some great services where extending that helping hand is always welcome. The Lords Diner, now at two locations, feeds hungry families but also depends on volunteers to help accomplish the task. Places to volunteer abound here, really, but let’s take a step back and see what we can do to teach children how to spread their giving spirit.
- Work together to make baked goods as a donation to a church, community or charity fair.
- Help your child donate a portion of his allowance and birthday money to the charity of his choice.
- Instead of exchanging duplicate gifts – donate one of the items to charity.
- Encourage your children to donate one item off their Christmas or birthday wish list to a less fortunate child.
- Teach a class together. Senior centers, YMCAs and women shelters are very receptive to the help.
- Walk, brush, feed and clean pets at a rescue shelter. Even younger children can appreciate this action.
- Volunteer to read to the blind. Let older children read while the younger ones turn pages.
- Organize a food drive in your neighborhood. Even small children can help deliver and collect bags.
- Organize a toy, book or clothing drive. Have the kids chip in by donating some of their unused toys and outgrown clothing.
- Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. Volunteers are needed to build, paint, cook and serve food, watch children and more.
- Sign up to receive Habitat’s free newsletter for monthly updates and share it with your children.
- Help an elderly neighbor with shopping . Let your child carry the grocery list and decide on “gift” items not on the list.
- Help an elderly neighbor with yard clean up. When a whole family pitches in, the work is done in half the time.
- If you don’t have a Goodwill drop-off nearby, donate old clothes to a community church clothing bank. Have your children help with this activity.
Allowing your children to help you help others is what it is all about. There is another list here at the Prairieland Food Blog that might also help you find an activity to help teach about volunteerism on the “Are you a volunteer?” page.
However you choose to teach charity to children, whether your own; a scout troop; a sports team or club you monitor, this action is more than worth the effort.
Even if all you do is on one day during the year, make that whole day about giving freely of your time to others, in some capacity. November 20, next year, could be the day your child learns about charity for the long term. But even better, how about one day a month? Don’t get stuck on what day your calendar expresses what you should do, but what you feel in your heart. Could passing that “good spirit” feeling on to your child be worth a mere 12 days a year? You bet’cha.
Prairieland Food recognizes that volunteers are an important part of every good community. Offering discounted food packages to those with a truly giving spirit is the mission of the organization. Allow your child to accompany you to D-Day, when the food comes in, and when you can, donate a Prairie Pak to someone you know needs that helping hand. Your child being a part of this action, will learn about charity first hand, from your example.