Are Your Children Charitable

Are you chil­dren char­i­ta­ble?  This time of year it’s so easy to give.  How do you encour­age your chil­dren to do good for those around them?

We have sev­eral sug­ges­tions.  First, let your kids go through the pantry and fill up a box or a gro­cery bag with non per­ish­able food items.  Then help them deliver it to us at Super­mar­ket Sat­ur­day.  East Idaho food banks are nearly empty.  Help fill them up again at our Super­mar­ket Sat­ur­day food drive, next Sat­ur­day, Novem­ber 17, 10a-3p at Albert­sons on Ben­ton in Pocatello, 2nd East in Rexburg, and 17th and Holmes in Idaho Falls.  Make sure no one goes hun­gry this hol­i­day sea­son.  With Classy 97, KLCE.

 1. Fill the Cans

A canned food drive is a reli­able com­mu­nity project. If you’re ready for some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent this year, con­sider tak­ing the next step: col­lect empty (rinsed out) cans, one per child. Take some time to talk, as a group, about peo­ple who are strug­gling to put food on the table. Then, ask each child to bring back the can with spare change inside of it. Local food pantries can often pur­chase over four times the food, per dol­lar, that you can at the super­mar­ket, mean­ing each dona­tion goes that much fur­ther to feed­ing the esti­mated one in six Amer­i­cans who are food inse­cure. Once cans are full, stack them up so kids can see the meals that will be eaten because of their generosity.

Look­ing for a hunger relief group in your com­mu­nity? Visit Feed­ing America’s web­site.

2. Clean Up, Every­body Everywhere

Take an hour to spruce up a local park or trail. When my old­est kids were two and three, our fam­ily joined oth­ers for a vol­un­teer day and helped clean up a sec­tion of a local bike path, then enjoyed a fall pic­nic. All the kids loved the trash trea­sure hunt so much that they fought over who got to use the grab­bers to pick up trash. Just remem­ber to ask every­one to bring a pair of gloves or mit­tens to keep their hands clean.

 3. Warm Hands, Warm Hearts

Host a coat, gloves, and hats drive for a local home­less shel­ter. These may be gen­tly used, or new. It’s also a great way to put that packed lost-and-found box to good use. As you col­lect the items, give each child a con­struc­tion paper mit­ten to dec­o­rate as a sym­bol of their contribution.

4. Book Drive

Ask each child to bring a favorite book – new or gen­tly used – to share with chil­dren who don’t have as many books at home. Books can then be donated to local Reach Out and Read affil­i­ates, a national non­profit that builds early lit­er­acy, or to a local home­less shel­ter that serves families.

5. Inter­na­tional Awareness

If your group is ready for a longer-term, more in depth project, Heifer Inter­na­tional offers a vari­ety of resources designed to help kids build lit­er­acy, learn about where food comes from, and help out peo­ple around the world. Heifer’s pop­u­lar gift cat­a­log is another way to raise aware­ness about peo­ple who live on the other side of the globe.

6. Dia­per Drive

Lots of tod­dlers and preschool­ers are very inter­ested in babies, and hav­ing a dia­per drive is one way to cap­i­tal­ize on that inter­est. It pro­vides an oppor­tu­nity to  talk about all the dif­fer­ent ways we can help out our neigh­bors, from play­ing gen­tly with baby sib­lings to shar­ing dia­pers with babies (and par­ents) who need them. Dia­pers are an item in high demand at many food pantries and shel­ters – they’re not cov­ered by food stamps, and every par­ent knows the mind-boggling num­ber of dia­pers one tiny baby can go through in a day.

7. The World’s Biggest Class Pet

For about $1 per class­mate, your child’s class can be the proud par­ents of the largest class pet on earth: a blue whale.  Or, if whales aren’t your style, most local zoos, such as the Den­ver Zoo, offer oppor­tu­ni­ties for groups of kids to adopt an ani­mal, from warthogs to wolves. Print out a big pic­ture of the cho­sen ani­mal and cut it up into one piece per child. Then, put up a large poster on the wall with an out­line of your new class buddy. As each child brings in a small con­tri­bu­tion, give him or her a piece of the ani­mal to paste up on the poster. Soon enough, you’ll have all the pieces in place, and have a new buddy to name – one that won’t have to be sent home with any­one over win­ter break.




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