We learn quick and easy ways to give back to the community and get your whole family involved.
HOW FAMILIES CAN VOLUNTEER TOGETHER – Author, Motivational Speaker and Volunteer Expert SILVANA CLARK
Soles4Souls collects and distributes shoes around the world. Kids can ask family and friends to donate gently used shoes and then send them to a Soles4Souls warehouse.
With animals: Many seniors on food stamps can't buy pet food, so senior centers have pet food banks. One family got their wagon and went door to door to their neighbors with dogs or cats and asked people to donate some pet food. They soon filled their wagon!
Kids can also collect old newspapers to take to the Humane Society. They always need paper fro puppy cages. Another family lived by a tennis center, they set up boxes saying "Donate used tennis balls for the dogs at the Humane Society." When players had flat balls, they tossed them in the boxes.
Girl Scout troops or even classes can offer "Senior Computer classes". Sondra's elementary school has the fifth graders offer a three week class in beginning computer use to seniors. It's very popular.
Another fun volunteer project is simply to organize a free book exchange. Kids (and adults) drop off used books at a designated time, say from 2:30-3:00. You get a token for every book you donate. Then at around 3:30, the room opens and people can come and cash in their tokens for "new" books.
Kids can decorate paper lunch bags and fill them with a granola bar, juice pack and a small Happy Meal-type-toy. Then take them to a women's shelter as bedtime snack sacks for the kids at the shelter.
One family wanted to volunteer together but didn't have much free time. Now on Sunday mornings, after church, they all go to the church nursery and help disinfect the baby toys. It only takes 15 minutes, but it's a way to volunteer together and doesn't require any extra driving. Plus the nursery staff love it!
Kids can collect used cell phones which can be recycled and given to women in shelters so they can call 911. An agency called Cell Phones for Life will even pay UPS shipping if you collect 6 or more phones.
For more ideas you can also get Silvana's daughter's book 77 Creative Ways Kids Can Serve By Sondra Clark