We have all experienced the joy of giving to others at some moment in our lives, and maybe you are thinking about it more during this time of year. I remember the first time I volunteered at my local soup kitchen while in high school and the feeling of compassion and gratitude that it gave me. I hope to spread that to our children and make giving a part of our family in new ways as our kids grow. I believe giving, even if it’s perceived to be small, has a way of changing us for the better. Here are some ways to start getting the kids involved at any age!
Visit a Nursing Home
The Veterans’ Nursing Home in St. Augustine welcomes groups and individuals who wish to spend time with the elders in our community. Kids have the amazing power to brighten anyone’s day (unless it’s naptime of course). This would be great for a group, or with just your family. There are so many great things to do here – pass out kid-made holiday cards, sing songs, or play card games. For more information contact The Clyde E. Lassen Veterans Nursing Home (904) 940-2193 Address: 4650 State Road 16, St. Augustine, FL 32092.
Giving to Children
Locally, there is a wonderful community giving group called Halo Keepers Crochet for a Cause. They support local families who are experiencing childhood cancer by crocheting wigs, bringing meals and organizing gifts for the families. This would be great to involve your children. Opportunities to help would be
- donate money, yarn or embellishments for the wigs
- Adults can host wig making party’s – no experience is necessary
- Adults and older children can make beanies – we can teach them how to crochet and provide supplies/pattern
- Make cards/donate small gifts for the children receiving the wigs (as needed)
- Deliver meals/snacks to families (based on need)
- Donate formal dresses for the Princess and Superhero ball being held in April
For more information on volunteering with these wonderful women or if you know someone who would like a wig e-mail [email protected]
Donate to a Food Pantry
Organizing a neighborhood/playgroup food drive would be a great way to get the smaller kids involved in giving. The St. Francis House accepts food donations and allows teens to serve in the kitchen with an accompanying adult. You can also contact St. Francis House about volunteering at 904-829-8937 [email protected]
Donate Items for Refugees
As we all know, there are parts of the world who are really hurting right now. As our country brings in new refugee families, World Relief Jacksonville helps refugee families as they make the transition to life in the states. We have donated our time and given to this organization in the past and had the best time. You can get the kids involved in putting together a welcome kit found here. They are also in need of school supplies as children are starting school at different times throughout the year depending on when they enter the country. Items can be gently used.
My kids like to point out when they see litter on the ground – anyone else’s kids do this? Grab some gloves and bags and head to the beach, park, etc. and pick up litter.
Help the Homeless
There have been several times when my kids have noticed someone asking for money or we have been approached by someone. I’m leery to just hand out money, but I know that my kids are watching and I do want to help. Instead of turning them down, I have granola bars on hand to pass out. An even better idea would be to have Ziploc bags handy with some non-perishable food and personal care items.
Pick an angel from a giving tree. The kids will have a great time choosing gifts for kids of their own age. The Salvation Army has lots of locations to pick up an angel list and drop it off.
- Prime Outlet Mall at Hwy 16 and 95
- Publix at Mission Trace on Hwy 16
- SE branch of St. Johns County library
- De Leon pizza
- UPS store on CR 210
- St. Augustine worship center at 1425 Old Dixie Highway
Looking for more ideas? Check out the Random Acts of Kindness for Kids Calendar on Jacksonville Moms Blog!