With the holidays just around the corner, our family is always looking for ways to volunteer and serve in the community. We have 3 children ages 6, 4, and 3 which can make it difficult to find things that all of us can participate in. We are trying to teach our children the importance of helping others and to have a servant’s heart. I’ve compiled a list below that will hopefully give you and your family some inspiration to volunteer and serve your community this holiday season and to teach your children the importance of helping others.
Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child is a part of the Samaritan’s Purse ministry. Every year during November they collect shoe boxes filled with toys and other items such as toiletries, socks, etc… for children in other countries. The recipients of the boxes receive them for Christmas. For many of these children, these are the first and only Christmas gifts they have ever received. Every year, each of my children pack a box. We visit stores such as The Dollar Tree and Five Below to pick out some special gifts to include in the boxes. We like to include coloring books, dolls, racecars, and other fun toys in the boxes. My children really enjoy getting to go shopping for their shoe box child. There are drop off locations all over the place so if you are interested in checking out their site, here’s the link.
Food Pantry Collection
Collecting and Delivering Food items to your local food pantry is always an easy way to volunteer. Some food pantries may have age limits for actually volunteering but there’s no age requirement for going door to door in your neighborhood to collect items. This year I will also be taking my 3 little ones to the grocery store to help pick out and purchase the items we will be donating. When we do the dropping off of the items, the kids can help carry in what we’ve collected and purchased.
Nursing Home Visits
Have your children make Christmas cards and deliver them to a nursing home or hospital. Nursing homes can be a very lonely place for some people, especially during the holiday season. One thing that I’ve learned from volunteering with the elderly is that most of them love children. This Christmas we will be delivering some Christmas cards and just visiting with the residents.
We live near Austin, Texas which at the moment has a very large homeless population. The closer you get to downtown, the more likely you are to see many homeless people standing on the street corners. Having Pre-made bags in your car that you can give out while driving by or sitting at a stop light is an easy way to make a large impact. Have your child help pack freezer bags or small totes with items such as fresh fruit, snacks, water bottles, and some hygiene items such as hand sanitizer, toiletries, a new pair of socks, etc…
First Responder Treats
Take your first responders some treats! Have your children help bake some cookies or make some other treats that you can drop off at the local fire or police department. You may want to check the station’s policies beforehand If you are making something homemade. Otherwise, send them a basket of pre-packaged snacks and goodies.