There’s nothing like the holidays to remind me how quickly sweet children can turn into toy-and-candy hoarding monsters. (A temper tantrum because my daughter didn’t get a third cookie? SMH.) So, I’m also reminded that there is no better season to teach our little ones about giving back. It’s never to early to start! Here, a bunch of ideas from as simple as looking online to as impactful as volunteering your time.
- Give the kids money (or have the grandparents do it), but make them donate a percentage of it. Wait, there’s more! Have them research which charity or foundation they’d like to choose. Help them identify a cause that’s important to them and find a worthy recipient.
- Have them choose one toy or gift they’ve received for Hanukkah or Christmas to donate somewhere. CHOP is always looking for toy donations (new ones) for the children they care for. You can drop them off at the main entrance at 34th and Civic Center Blvd. Toys for Tots has toy drop-off locations at Toys R Us, Babies R Us, and A.C. Moore.
- Have your child pick an old item of clothing for every new one they’ve received and donate it to the Salvation Army or Good Will. Make sure they clean out their closets and make the hard decisions themselves.
- Take your children food shopping with you and pick out canned goods that you can drop off together at Philabundance, an amazing organization that provides food for the 26% of Philadelphians that live below the poverty line. (Our deep poverty rate is the highest among the biggest cities in the country.) Here is what they need. Here is where you can drop it off.
- For a super easy way to volunteer your time, the Broad Street Ministry in Old City serves free meals to those in need almost every day of the week. They have a nifty online calendar where you can see which days they still need volunteers and sign up. If food isn’t your thing, they also need help sorting mail. (Almost 3,000 people use the BSM address to receive and send mail since they don’t have their own home.) Same online calendar sign-up applies.
- Your child will immediately relate to this one: Donors Choose is an online site where teachers of local schools can post specific things they need, like books, science kits, even toothbrushes to teach about oral hygiene. Plug in your zip code and see what your local school needs.
- Bake for your neighbors. Even the smallest children will gain something from baking Christmas cookies and delivering them to others. They’ll have fun with the baking and packaging part and you’ll set the great example of giving and forming relationships with your community.
Photo: Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®