By TMoM Team Member Anna Keller

This time of year, giving back is especially top of mind for many. For those of us who are parents, looking for ways to share some of our resources or time with others is something we also want to make sure we can involve our children in. After all, there’s no better way to instill the value of giving than to give our kids a front row seat to that process and let them experience ways to give and what that feels like.

We did something fun in our neighborhood this year, and it was an activity I loved getting to do with my 4-year-old daughter, Maggie. We sent out an email and posted in our neighborhood Facebook group letting everyone know that we were putting together a donation of shelf-stable food and personal care items for the Second Harvest Food Bank. Most families have items on hand to donate to the food bank, but sometimes the barrier can be actually getting the food to the food bank or to a donation location.

To make it extra easy on any neighbors who wanted to be part of this giving opportunity and to make for a more hands-on experience for Maggie, we set up a time on a Saturday for anyone interested to put the items on their front porch. (I even included a link that allowed neighbors to easily add that date and time to their calendar as a reminder.) Maggie and I then walked around the neighborhood on the agreed upon Saturday morning, looking intently at each porch and adding any food bank items we found to our stash.

Our neighbors were excited to participate, and we ended up with a trunk full of food and personal care items to donate. That next week, I took Maggie to the food bank with me to drop off the donation, so she was able to see that process from start to finish.

If you’re looking for ways to involve your children in giving back this year, here are a few more ideas on ways to do that!:

  • Adopt an Angel Tree child and shop for their gifts together, then bring your child along to drop off the donation.
  • Bake cookies together and then drop them off with your child at a local fire or police station.
  • Pack stockings for homeless people filled with things like granola bars, toothbrushes, and gloves, then keep the stockings in your car to hand out (with your child) to homeless people you encounter this season.
  • Help your child find a cause they’re passionate about and then brainstorm ways your child can have a hand in contributing to that cause. (For example, we had a lemonade stand over the summer and gave the proceeds to a local animal shelter, which was Maggie’s choice.)
  • Have your child draw or decorate holiday cards to drop off at a local nursing home.

To view Triad Moms on Main’s Directory of volunteering and giving opportunities, click here!

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