Since before my children were born, I’ve volunteered with local non-profits and gave back to the community. After becoming a mom, my kids became a part of what I was doing. They helped send letters and care packages to troops overseas and helped shop for underprivileged families during the holidays. There are so many things kids can do to make a difference during the holidays. Here’s just a few:
Choose a non-profit you’d like to help. We recently chose a local one called Into-Africa, an organization that works to facilities including schools and medical facilities in West Africa. My children and I decided to do a book drive and then sell the books to donate to a project for building an elementary school in Sierra Leone. We raised over $500! Friends donated books, but we also asked book publishers, many of whom were more than happy to give their slightly damaged books to a good cause. The kids helped organize and sell the books, and it was a great team effort. During our fundraiser, I showed them photos on-line of some of the children they would be helping and that was wonderful motivation to do their best. You could also have a bake sale, handmade Christmas card sale, or hold a silent auction.
Hunger is everywhere, including the city or town you live in. Find out what organizations are helping those people who are starving. Our local soup kitchens and homeschool shelters do this. If you feel this is too overwhelming for your children, consider having your own canned food drive and taking donations to a local food pantry.
When we first started doing this, they were very young, and I wondered if they would have a hard time giving the toys away. They didn’t. Instead, they got excited and couldn’t wait to pick out thoughtful gifts for children they didn’t even know.
Every year our church does something called Christmas Angel. First, my children choose a paper ornament from the Christmas tree in the foyer. On the back is a child’s name, age, and some gift ideas. My kids choose the toys for these children, then I ship them out. When we first started doing this, they were very young (about four or five), and I wondered if they would have a hard time giving the toys away. They didn’t. Instead, they got excited and couldn’t wait to pick out thoughtful gifts for children they didn’t even know. If your school or church doesn’t do this, you could consider organizing it yourself. If that seems like too much effort (our kiddos keep our hands full, after all!) think of a family you know who may need some help during the season. I have a friend who told me a story of receiving bags of groceries from a mystery neighbor one winter day. It touched her family’s heart!
Send Christmas Cards or Write Letters
When I was a little girl, one Christmas my Girl Scout Troop and I wrote letters to senior citizens in nursing homes. We even went to visit them! I still remember the lady I wrote to. She was so grateful and kind!
Operation Shoe Box
My children look forward to this every year! With Operation Shoe Box, children fill a shoe box (or plastic tote of the same size) with little toys, candy, and fun things for kids in impoverished areas overseas. My children also write letters and send their photos in the boxes. Shoe Box is a Christian non-profit, so when they deliver the boxes, they also share a Bible and the gospel with each child. There are drop-off locations throughout most cities. You can find more information here.
These are just a few ways to make a difference. You could use one, some, or brainstorm with your kids to come up with your own. The only limit is your imagination!
About the All-Star Blogger
Celena Marie is a historical fiction writer and graduate school student majoring in Elementary Education. She’s been homeschooling her four kiddos for six years and absolutely loves it! She blogs about all things ladylike and homeschooling on The Traveling Sisterhood.