Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Teaching our Children to Give

One of the most important things I want my children to know is that no matter how much or how little we have, there is always something we can give or do to help others. We never know what tomorrow may bring so for today we must share what we have, our talents and gifts.

There is always the option of donating money but to me I think a lot more can be done by donating time. I want my children to be hands on in their charity work. But with my children still being young that is often a challenge.

I recently came across Family-to-Family a website that has many ideas for families to help each other. One of my favorite ideas was Birthday Boxes. Birthday Boxes allow a child to have a birthday party that otherwise might not have one. Here are the details from the Family-To-Family website:

  1. To start, decide where you want to send your box (to kids living in one of the needy communities where Family-to-Family sends food, or to kids in a homeless shelter or to kids in a battered women’s shelter), and contact us at We’ll put you in touch with a shelter or F-to-F community and give you the name and address of the person who will hand out the boxes you send.

  2. Pick an age, and choose either boy or girl to send your box to. (For example, you might choose a 9-year-old girl, or a 4-year-old boy.)
  3. Find a large sneaker-sized shoe box in your house, and buy the things needed for a party.

a box of cake mix
a can of frosting
birthday candles
a wall decoration (like streamers, or a happy birthday banner)
a gently used book from your house that the child you are sending to would probably like
a small $5-$10 dollar gift for that child.
If you like, you can also include a goody bag filled with small surprises.


This is a simple, inexpensive way for your child to participate by picking out and helping fill the box.

For an even bigger effect make the birthday box a part of your child's birthday party. Have each of the guests bring the items for a box and decorate cards and assemble them as part of the birthday party.


Another way children can help is to set-up a book drive either in their neighborhood, school, or church. Your child can make up cards asking people to bring a gently used or new children's book and hand them out around the neighborhood or at their activities.

You can contact local organizations to see if any can use some more books or email and they can give you an address to send books to.

Here are some more volunteer opportunities from Compassionate Kids:

  • Check with Keep America Beautiful or other local organizations for community clean-up days.
  • Consider raising vegetables or starting a canned food drive for your local food pantry.
  • Check with local nursing homes for "toddler days."
  • Take on home baking projects for fundraising bake sales or meal delivery services.
  • Ask your local Chamber of Commerce for information about local organizations that may have volunteer opportunities.
  • Call non-profit organizations you like and ask what you can do. They may have needs/volunteer opportunities that you haven't even thought of.
  • Check for opportunities listed in national volunteer website databases such as (has a designation for kid-friendly opportunities) or (has designations for teen opportunities and under-age-12 opportunities).