They may be small, but they can make a big difference. Here are some ways to help your children develop empathy, compassion and gratitude while also helping those around them. And most of these volunteer opportunities can be done from the comfort of your own home.
Make a Blanket– Create memories teaching your children how to make blankets. The blankets can be knitted, crocheted, quilted or simply cut and tied pieces of fleece. Contact organizations in your area to see if they need blanket donations. Ideas for where to start: pregnancy centers, hospitals, foster care agencies, police/fire stations, etc. Check out Project Linus for blanket guidelines. They also offer drop off locations in many areas.
Prepare Utensil Rolls for a Soup Kitchen– Many soup kitchens will allow volunteers to roll utensils for their meals.
What you will need: Napkins, plastic utensils, ribbon or tape.
What to do:
- Before starting, check with your local soup kitchen or homeless shelter to make sure this is a need and that that will accept the donations.
- Roll utensils and attach tape, stickers or ribbon (it’s fun to use colored ribbon or stickers for an upcoming holiday.)
- Optional: Print out or write encouraging messages, Bible verses, etc. and put inside the napkin.
Plant a Row for the Hungry– Do you have a garden? Consider planting a row for the hungry and donating what you grow to your local food pantry. If you don’t have a garden or space to plant one, ask your church if you could grow some food for those in need. There are also community gardens available in some areas.
Make Toiletry Kits for the Homeless– Many homeless shelters need kits to hand guests who arrive at the shelter. Ask your local shelter for specific details/needs. Ideas for what to include: soap, hotel size shampoo/conditioner, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, feminine products, socks, disposable razors, etc.
Make Cookies for Fire Fighters or Police Officers– Your children will enjoy baking and decorating a tray of cookies for their local heroes. You can also include cards and hand written letters. When you deliver the cookies to the local fire or police station, your kids might even get a tour of the station (if it’s not too busy.)
Organize a Drive– Get your friends, neighbors, church, or ball team involved. Ask your children for ideas about what they’d like to collect. Suggestions: toys for children in need, food for dogs and cats at the animal shelter, books for a low income daycare center, toothbrushes for a medical clinic, etc. For those in the Atlanta area, Act Together Ministries is looking for volunteers to collect toys, school supplies, socks and shoes.
Make Cards– Brighten someone’s day with a handmade card. Ideas for where to take cards: hospitals (check about the hospital’s infection control policy,) mail to our soldiers, Meals on Wheels, and nursing homes.
Raise Money for Charity with a Lemonade Stand– All kids should have the experience of running a lemonade stand or bake sale in their neighborhood. Make it into a fun project by helping them plan the date, what they will sale, how much they will charge, and the charity they will donate the funds to.
Decorate Bags for a Summer Lunch Program– Millions of children in need receive lunch at a free or reduced rate through the National School Lunch Program. During the summer months, these children rely on summer lunch programs. Check your area for a Summer Food Service Program. Often they will allow volunteers to decorate paper bags for the children’s lunches. Also consider donating money or food to help with the program.
Host a Playdate with a Purpose– Invite your friends and neighbors to join you for a fun playdate. Have a simple service project during the playdate or ask each guest to bring an item to donate. Ideas: Wrap gifts for children in need, prepare Operation Christmas Child boxes, or bake a treat for the fire fighters.
If you found this blog post helpful, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Act Together Ministries to allow us to continue serving children in need. You can learn more about our work here.