Last year during the holidays, I wrote two posts about volunteer opportunities for kids in December and beyond.
Almost monthly, I get an email from a mom who is looking for the links to those posts or wondering about other volunteer opportunities for their kids. So I thought I'd contact the United Way of the Triangle again this year for some more ideas about how kids can give back during the holiday season.
The Triangle United Way's Reah P. Nicholson sent over these ideas for young children and grade schoolers. I'll have more ideas for tweens and teens on Thursday.
Here's what Nicholson suggested:
- Holiday and Valentine's Day cards for seniors and military veterans: Doesn’t require any supplies or money. Kids can use colored pencils, crayons and construction paper to create cards and Valentine's. Families can then take the cards and Valentine's to seniors and veterans. Many people just like to have companionship and just love to see a smiling face.
- Donation drive: Have your children go through the house and find items that they no longer need and can donate to those less fortunate. Agencies are always looking for toys, clothes, and other items.
- Birthday kits: Children can collect and donate items for birthday kits for kids. Children can pick out the type of cake mix, frosting, birthday card, candles to put in the kits. The kits help ensure that children in needy families can celebrate their birthday too.
- Adopt-A-Family or Angel Tree: During the holiday season, many agencies are looking for families and individuals to adopt needy families and purchase items for the family. Some agencies have angel trees where families can pick out an individual child who they would like to sponsor. Let your child pick out the person that they'd like to help from the angel tree, along with the toys and other gifts.
- Cook a meal: Families can put together a meal for those in need and those who are living in shelters. Kids can help pick the menu and then help mom and dad in the kitchen with preparing the meals. Families can take the meals to the shelters or agencies so kids can see who they are helping
Nicholson tells me that these local agencies could use some help in the following areas. As always, check with the agency to determine exactly what they need (perhaps more protein items such as tuna or peanut butter than cereals and pastas, for example).
- Urban Ministries of Wake County: Food collection
- The Salvation Army: Santa’s Toy Shop, Thrift Store, Angel Tree
- Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina: Food collection. The nonprofit also offers special days where young kids can volunteer.
- Genesis Home: Clothing and toy drives, adopt-a-family program
- The Women’s Center: Food, clothing and other donations collected.
- Haven House: Food, clothing and other donations
- Inter-Faith Food Shuttle: Grocery bag prep, Backpack Buddies, farms and community gardens
- Harbor, Inc.: Requested donations include items for children's programs.
- Inter-Faith Council for Social Service: Birthday kits, meals, food and clothing donations