Giving Thanks, Giving Back
It’s that time of year, when the occasionally grey and cloudy day gives a whiff of fall and the calendar starts filling with recitals and playoffs and end of quarter parent-teacher conferences and a whole lot of seasonal merriment. Although fun events and creative ways to spend family together time fill the holiday months, we think demonstrating how important it is to be grateful for our blessings will not only lead our kids to a more giving life, but show them how truly rewarding it is to do good in the world. It just feels inherently…good.
If you like the sound of that, but are a bit stuck on where to begin, there’s a whole movement to help us as parents get past the aspirational point of wanting to do something by spoonfeeding us fun ideas of how to actually get started.
GenerationOn Family Volunteer Day (Sunday, November 19) is a day of service that celebrates the power of families who work together to support their neighbors and neighborhoods.The GenerationOn website is filled with manageable giving-back ideas, here are a few of our favorites:
Pennies for Puppies
Dogs that help the blind or other physically challenged people are invaluable to their independence. There is more of a demand for the dogs than can be filled. The dog must be able to be trained and the trainer must be very diligent and stick to the same rules everyday for about 18 months. You family can help by participating in Pennies for Puppies.
Donate birthday boxes to kids in foster care or shelters. Why? Birthday Parties are the best! Everyone deserves to be celebrated on his/her birthday. But, for the over 400,000 kids in foster care and close to 2 million kids living in shelters or on the streets in the U.S., birthdays are often forgotten. But you can help change that and spread a little joy.
DIY Games Using Recycled Materials
Use recycled items to make educational materials for a local school. Use magazine cut-outs to make flashcards, egg cartons to make counting games and old fabric samples to teach young children their colors. Donate to kids in need.
Many families won’t be able to celebrate Thanksgiving. You can help by making a basket with classic meal items and donate the boxes to shelters or soup kitchens. Include cornbread, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy and a homemade Thanksgiving card.
Share the Season
Hundreds of thousands of service men and women are sent around the world. It is hard to be away from your family during the holidays. Help those serving our country! If they are serving in cold/mountain climates include cocoa and candy canes, or other holiday decorations. Include a personal note of thanks or well wishes for the holiday.
Good-Eat Bags for Seniors
Everyone loves a good snack, but not everyone can pop out to the store or run to the kitchen to whip up something. Create Good-Eat Bags and fill with nutritious snacks for seniors. Deliver the Good-Eat Bags to seniors living at home, in a nursing home, or attending a senior center program.
If any of these sound doable, or even (gasp) fun, give ‘em a go and let us know how you fare. It doesn’t have to be a perfect first attempt. Maybe while doing an activity, you’ll come up with another idea that works even better. Or makes more sense here in Orange County. The point is to try. Writing checks is great, worthy and certainly very needed in some circumstances. But there’s just something about doing a physical action that makes you feel connected. Maybe we can all inspire each other and make our small attempts into something bigger.
That’s something to feel pretty thankful for…