I'm thrilled to be co-hosting a blog hop with a dozen local bloggers who are all sharing some wonderful ways to help others this holiday season.
We're sharing ideas for everyone -- young or old, individual or family, those who want to help kids or animals -- to make this a true 'season of giving' in Kansas City!
Each of us has chosen to feature a charity or two and highlight how people can get involved.
The holidays are a great time to introduce kids to the idea of giving. It's important that kids of all ages understand that no matter what your age or income status, EVERYONE can help give to others and help their community.
Remember the great line from How the Grinch Stole Christmas:
"Maybe Christmas, he thought... doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more!"
That 'little bit more' is what each of us can do to help others
have a happy holiday.
One way to discuss the idea of giving to others with your kids is to explain that not all children in your community are as fortunate as your own family; some don't have enough food in the house, mittens to wear when it's cold or even books to look at when they'd like to read.
Many families choose to donate items during the holiday season; this is a great volunteer activity since kids of all ages can be involved. Make sure to let the kids help when choosing, purchasing and delivering the donations. Kids really do enjoy picking out just the right toy or looking for the 'good' cereal to donate to the pantry. Really, who knows kids better than other kids, right?!
By having kids take part in the entire process, they will understand what it takes to help others and also get that great feeling that comes when you help others.
Here are a few ideas for family volunteer activities during the holiday season:
Did you know that the Salvation Army sponsors Angel Trees? Families can 'adopt' an angel (child in need) from the tree and provide a gift for a child who may not otherwise receive one. Angel trees are located throughout the Kansas City metro area. This is a great hands-on way to introduce the idea of helping others.
Adopt a Family
If you are able to help more than one child, you may want to consider the Salvation Army's Adopt a Family program. Our family did this one year and it was a very positive experience for us. You are provided with a wish list from the family so you have an idea of what each person would like, and you are also able to choose the size of the family you adopt. You can also request a family that has children about the same age as your kids (many kids like to shop for others their age).
Be a Bell Ringer
I'm sure you've seen the red kettles all around town -- almost all the great folks who are ringing bells are volunteers! The money collected in the red kettles goes to support families in need in your community.
You and the kids can also volunteer to be bell ringers at a location near you. This was an activity that we did with our scout troop and the kids had such a great time! The kids decided to wear Santa hats, they LOVED ringing the bells and before you know it the 2-hour shift is over. Dress warmly and you may even want to think about singing some holiday songs while you're there :-)
Children's Mercy Hospital
Another amazing organization, Kansas City is so lucky to have Children's Mercy Hospital. They are a wonderful resource for both urgent care and for the wonderful research they do with children's health issues. My kids and I have visited on a few occasions and I am always so impressed with the staff and volunteers at Children's!
One of the ways you can help the kids at Children's Mercy is to host a drive to collect needed items.
Because of health issues, all items used at the hospital must be new and if possible, unopened.
First, the hospital has a Wish List of items they need for the kids. Besides donating these items, families can also host a neighborhood or school drive to collect these items.
The second need, which is HUGE at this time of the year, is a Hat & Mitten drive! There are many kids in Kansas City who need warm weather gear. Could your family help by collecting new hats and mittens for children? It would be greatly appreciated by both the staff and the kids! Due to health issues, all items must be new -- and they need items for kids of all ages.
To learn about more Kansas City charities and
how you can make the season brighter for others,
please visit these great blogs:
Everyday Truth --- Bear Hugs
Sarah Scoop --- Toys for Tots
it's me, debcb! --- Safehome
Healthnut Foodie --- Veronica's Voice
Back to Allen --- The Children's Place
Whatcha Makin Now --- Wayside Waifs
Soleful Suitcases --- KC Rescue Mission
Wayward Dogs --- Midwest Adopt-a-Bull
Laughing Cat Creations --- Turning Point
Blogchickabowow --- Jewish Family Services
Raising the Barrs --- Hillcrest Transitional Housing
The Happy Family Movement --- Rose Brooks Women's Center
November 26th is Giving Tuesday -- it's a national day to think about how to give back and do something for others. Please visit #GivingTuesday for more ideas on how to volunteer.
And thank you for making this a 'season of giving'!