Tuesday, November 18, 2014

As any parents, we are trying to teach our daughter to help others. This post is about getting her to take more active role when we, as a family, are making decisions on how to serve.
Getting kids more involved while giving to charities
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Preparing for a Food Bank Drive

Thanksgiving and Christmas offer plenty of opportunities for giving, and we participate in many of them through Smarty’s school and my workplace – donate to shelters, shop for children in need, give money to charities. As Smarty gets older, all these activities are becoming more meaningful to her, and we are trying to get her to make as many decisions on her own as possible, especially when she contributes her own money saved from allowance and money gifts. So when her school announced a food drive to contribute to our local Second Harvest Food Bank, I suggested the following arrangement to my 8 year old:
  • For each dollar she contributes to the food drive, we will contribute $3.
  • She will look through supermarket flyers and select nutritious food to buy – the food that we will donate to the food drive. This led to a good discussion about what our food bank needs most.
  • She will write the shopping list and will do all the shopping while I will provide transportation and supervision.

Great Thanksgiving Book About Giving to Others

Can Do Thanksgiving
While discussing our food drive, we read again a wonderful Thanksgiving book The Can-Do Thanksgiving by Marion Hess Pomeranc illustrated by Nancy Cole. The topic of hunger and homelessness is approached sensitively in this book through the eyes of a girl who contributes a can of food to a food drive and writes her name on it in hopes of finding out where her can goes. She then helps out at a shelter’s Thanksgiving meal and discovers that kids of her age are coming to this feast. Smarty, of course, asked if we could help out in the shelter kitchen as well, but we have my parents coming over for Thanksgiving. However, I will look to see if we can get more involved in our local food bank that accepts volunteers.

Kids Will Feel Needed If They Are Really Helping


I took Smarty shopping for Giving Tree before, but she was not really “engaged” in that effort, since, after all, not a lot was needed from her. The wish was already made, the present did not need to be wrapped. It was just a trip to the store like any trip to pick a birthday present for a friend but even with less opportunity to choose or think. This food drive was different. Smarty was absolutely engaged in choosing food to buy, writing a shopping list, and calculating the total. Then we came to the store, and she forgot all about her shopping list with all the other options on the shelves. She managed to keep herself to the items that the food bank was asking for, but she went way over her initial budget of $20. She ended up spending $40 – also a good lesson on what happens if you don’t stick with your shopping list. But at least this going over budget was for a good cause, and she contributed her own $10 to it.
After we came home, Smarty built this can tower to show Papa her choices before taking them to school the next day. Now she is asking me if we can contribute extra $$$ to the food bank following the same 1:3 approach. We can certainly do that as well Smile

Your Turn

How do you involve your children in serving others?

More on Volunteering

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Ticia said...

She did quite impressive. We need to pack our Operation Christmas Child boxes this week for sending off.

min said...

We did something similar last year and K enjoyed the shopping part. This year we are looking for ways to serve.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I love this - especially that she contributed $10 of her own money.

Alison P. said...

We take stuff to a local non-profit that helps families that have come here with nothing. We have been doing that for as long as my little guy can remember but of course he remembers that they have fun toys to play with in the lobby but I still think that it is something to learn early. He was sad this time I had to drop off the stuff while he was in school. I am totally going to be getting that book next time and read that while we pack everything up. It is super interesting to add budgeting to the process too but we coupon to get the items for them so it is slowly built up over time so that we don't have to spend as much money for it but can offer a lot so I am not sure if we would be able to do that :)

Carrie said...

How wonderful!! I love that she contributed her own money as well. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!