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Cheryl
03-27-2011, 08:02 AM
give me some ideas that I can do with the family. It's time we start giving back, just not sure how to give back :)

older kids are 8 and 9.

little kids are 1,3,5 so not that much help.

our local HS group does Meals on Wheels to shut-in but I want something that the kids can be involved in.

Laina
03-27-2011, 08:29 AM
Right now the only community service thing we do with the kids is to walk around the neighborhood or a beach and pick up litter. I'm looking forward to hearing others' ideas!

Topsy
03-27-2011, 08:40 AM
Food banks often let families help pack and sort food which some kids really seem to enjoy, animal shelters and humane societies usually allow kids to help out socializing the animals, nursing homes LOVE having families visit and preparing homemade placemats for their dining room, or even drawing pictures to hang in their rooms is always appreciated, and if you have a local homeless shelter they will often let families help serve a meal.

Pilgrim
03-27-2011, 09:52 AM
Food banks often let families help pack and sort food which some kids really seem to enjoy, animal shelters and humane societies usually allow kids to help out socializing the animals, nursing homes LOVE having families visit and preparing homemade placemats for their dining room, or even drawing pictures to hang in their rooms is always appreciated, and if you have a local homeless shelter they will often let families help serve a meal.

Great ideas. You could see if there are community gardens in your area. DD helped out at one a few times last summer and really enjoyed it.

Cheryl
03-27-2011, 09:54 AM
I never thought of a nursing home! I didn't think they would let non family members hang out. That could be something the little kids could do. great idea! thanks!

I would have a ZOO if we helped at a shelter! I can't even go to petsmart on the weekends for fear of adopting something, lol. we already have 3 rescued dogs and 2 cats. but................. the kids would love to do that too.

what great ideas!

My mom has always helped at the homeless/food bank shelter back home. That is my goal in the future

Pefa
03-27-2011, 10:08 AM
We've walked dogs for the humane society and done meals on wheels. Picking up litter is important. B1 fiddles at the local hospital - either in the lobby or for individual patients. We've also volunteered for local historical societies and museums.

inmom
03-27-2011, 10:36 AM
National, state, and local parks often need volunteers for both maintenance, clean-up....all the way to interpretation--work at festivals, etc. At ages 10 & 11 my kids were "manning" a site on their own during Maple Sugar time here, explaining how local Native Americans processed sap, keeping the fires going, explaining the artifacts.

Public libraries often have "adopt-a-shelf" programs where older kids help shelve and properly arrange library books on the shelf. This is quite handy especially in the children's section where they often get misplaced.

Ariadne
03-27-2011, 10:42 AM
Great ideas.

Has anyone had success with locating a specific needy family, either anonymously or not, to help out? That's what my parents did all the time when we were kids. I'd like to do that myself because it is so personal to the children doing the giving, even if the other family doesn't know who you are. It made a huge impact on me.

Do you go through local churches to locate families? Through a shelter?

Laina
03-27-2011, 11:02 AM
Great ideas.

Has anyone had success with locating a specific needy family, either anonymously or not, to help out? That's what my parents did all the time when we were kids. I'd like to do that myself because it is so personal to the children doing the giving, even if the other family doesn't know who you are. It made a huge impact on me.

Do you go through local churches to locate families? Through a shelter?

Oh, that's a great idea too. I would also be interested in finding an elderly person in our neighborhood who we could help out by checking in, bringing them grocery shopping, shoveling, etc.

Ariadne
03-27-2011, 11:50 AM
Oh, that's a great idea too. I would also be interested in finding an elderly person in our neighborhood who we could help out by checking in, bringing them grocery shopping, shoveling, etc.
This is brilliant. So many elderly have children who moved away, and they're on a fixed budget to boot.

belacqua
03-27-2011, 04:13 PM
If your local library has a Friends group, you might see if they could use help. Our Friends of the Library holds used book sales a few times a year, and they're always looking for volunteers to unpack boxes and put books on tables, or to box up leftover books at the end. Not so great for the littles, but older kids can do that.

Topsy
03-27-2011, 08:46 PM
Oh, that's a great idea too. I would also be interested in finding an elderly person in our neighborhood who we could help out by checking in, bringing them grocery shopping, shoveling, etc.

Our Council on Aging, which sponsors the Meals on Wheels program, also has an adopt-a-grandparent program for this very thing! You can find someone who has little to no family and do daily or weekly checks on them, visits, or even take them on errands. You would just need to make sure they are amenable to having kids in their house. Some adore it, some don't.

higgledypiggledy
04-01-2011, 06:15 PM
Here are few fun community things we love.
The nursing home-especially since you have lots of kids. Many of those in nursing home NEVER see their grandkids and if you make it a weekly ritual, your children will have an abundance of grandparents. Things to take with you to the nursing home are checkerboards, chess, large playing cards, coloring books and crayons-old people seem to enjoy coloring with kidlets quite a bit, books to read aloud (meaning you read a chapter or two each week to a special someone). Things to make and take-walker/wheelchair pockets for stuff, recliner pockets for remotes, fleece lap blankets, holiday table toppers.

The homeless shelter-not to hand out with little ones but stuff to collect tand give: toothpaste/toothbrushes (talk to dentists), socks, more socks, shoes, coats, jeans, washclothes, handtowels, little travel sized shampoo bottles. Ask ahead of time which items they would prefer, books

The women and childrens shelter- lead an art class for kids one afternoon a week or two afternoons a month, things to collect: toiletry kits, kids clothes, women's business clothes, SHOES (many of those in the shelter leave with the clothes on their back), toys, books things to make: fun fleece blankets, quilts for families getting into their first apartment, ask what they need most. We also offer emergency unpaid childcare on occasion when women have job interviews or have just left and are trying to arrange a new permanent childcare situation. This has been very fun and our kids have had some great short term friendships. Because of the anonymity factor for some families, once the women are permanently settled we no longer have contact with them. Our longest childcare service was for two afternoons a week for six weeks. You cannot imagine the delight of some of these kids to just come over for an hour and a half to bake cookies while mom is at therapy or just getting a little respite. These afternoons usually feel like a party. We decorate and then do a really fun activity.

The NICU (neonatal ICU) things to make: bright colored flannel blankets double thick to drape over incubators, feeding pillows things to collect and give: premie clothes for babies that pass away (personal experience here tells me that lovely preemie clothes to select from on site are helpful if heartbreaking to consider, there are organizations that can help you locate/make/purchase for donation), books for the pumping rooms

Feed My Starving Children-pack emergency food boxes at locations throughout the USA (my kids LOVE this)

March of Dimes: sponser walk a thons and quarter drives

Watershed restoration projects-chop hack assault invasive species (totally fun for kids)

Paint Your Heart Out-goes by different names but a home,usually of an elderly or family with chronic illness, is selected and the home is freshened inside and out with paint. Your kids could help paint on the outside or run a snack table. Usually done in a single weekend.

Neighborhood Helping Hands-kind of like the tv show curb appeal, where the city selects a block and volunteers help plant low maintainence perennials, shrubs and lawns, walkways to houses are repaired, sometimes houses painted, basic repair work on properties completed your kids could help with planting and snacks. If your town doesn't have this happening try to get it started and offer to plan the first one. The results can be amazing--with a swarm of fifty volunteers a neighborhood block can be transformed on a Saturday with donated materials. It is very Satisfying and over the course of a month an entire enighborhood can be enhanced.

higgledypiggledy
04-01-2011, 06:21 PM
I forgot something, Service learning is a big deal to our family:
Social Services- collect clothing, toiletries and other sundries for children coming through the 24-48 hour emergency placement centers. They can also help you anonymously donate to family. You won't know the details of the family other than ages and genders and they will do any drop off. Not all social service agencies are as open to this.

Cheryl
04-01-2011, 07:22 PM
you are AWESOME! thank you for all your advice! I really had no idea that we could go to the other nursing home w/o being family! thank you!