Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Family Volunteer Ideas for Christmas

It's Giving Tuesday

Christmas time brings out the best in our charitable nature.  Every year for Christmas we pick one Charitable experience to do as a family.  Here are some ideas to get you started.

This is the easiest way to donate to your favorite charity.  Just log into org.amazon.smile.com and link it to your Amazon account.  Everytime you shop on Amazon they donate .5% to the charity you chose.  The biggest catch is you have to login through Amazon Smile when you shop.  Check out the website for more details.

Volunteer at a Homeless Shelter
one year our kids weren't old enough to serve food inside the shelter, so we gave hot chocolate and doughnuts out while the homeless waited outside to get let in.

Project Linus
We tied blankets for this great charity. Click here for details.
volunteer kids

Bring him home Santa
We downloaded this song Bring Him Home Santa by The Song Trust, about a soldier's family asking Santa to bring home their Daddy for Christmas.  The cost of our Download benefited animals.  We gave a copy of the song to each of our neighbors with a poem written by a service member about how they spend Christmas over seas.  We attached a note saying this year for Christmas we donated food to the Airman's Pantry, a charity that provides food for struggling service men and their families.

Toys for Tots
My husband was in the military, and every year he would volunteer his time to deliver these toys to Foster Care kids.  He saw first hand how much these donations mean to these kids.  We try to donate what we can every year. Click here for details.

Police Stuffed Animal Drive
The police department in our area collects new and gently used stuffed animals, to give to children at crime or accident scenes, to help comfort the children involved.  We have gone through the tons of stuffed animals my kids have collected over the years and donated several.

Fire Fighter's Coat and Blanket Drive
The Fire Department in our area collects new or gently used coats and blankets.  If I don't already know someone in need, I always wash up the coats from last year and donate them.  My kids aren't hard on their coats, so they are usually in good shape.

Just One Penny
We started a tradition as a family with the Salvation Army Red Kettle Program. click here for details.

Wigs for kids/ Locks of Love
We grew out and donated our hair. Click here for details
Great Clips- Locks of Love

Homeless Kits
We made homeless kits and donated them to a shelter.
We included food, water, hygiene products and warm socks.

Food Drive
We organized a food drive in our community and school.  We sent out flyers and collected the food on a set day and time.  At school we made it a contest to see which class could collect the most food.

Food Bank

Our local food bank has a family night, where you can bring in the whole family to sort food.  They also like the kids to decorate Christmas trees on the boxes.  Many of the families they service can't afford a Christmas tree, so they use these boxes as their Christmas tree.

Gift for a neighbor you don't know
We included a neighbor we didn't know in our Holiday neighborhood gifts.  A great way to get to know your neighbors.

Secret Service Elves
We went around and shoveled people's driveways.

Box of food/presents on a neighbor/co-worker/family member's porch
We left a box of food on someone's porch, with a special note, rang the doorbell and hid.  We wanted it to be a secret.
We have also bought the entire Christmas for Friends and Family who are struggling medically or financially.  If you can't afford to do it all get a group together.

Donate old toys and clothes to thrift stores
Did you know that some religious thrift stores give out vouchers for people in need to come in, and get stuff for free in their stores, at the holidays.  We like to donate our old stuff, so they have good stuff to choose from.  Great way to make room  for your kid's new toys.

Knit Hats for the Homeless
We helped our church group knit hats for the homeless, then we helped deliver them to a shelter as a family.

Blankets and Coat Drive for the Homeless
You can donate them at a shelter or leave them at the park frequented by the homeless with a special note attached.

Angel Tree
We got together with our extended family and bought Christmas for a family on the Angel Tree.

Visit a Senior Center
Unfortunately, many seniors don't get very many visitors.  You can go and visit them, talk to them, play games, read to them, or have your family perform for them.  Gifts are always nice.  Call ahead to get permission, and they should be able to help direct you to who could use a visitor, or even a gift.

Weather permitting, and you might need permission.  You can cut the overgrown grass off of headstones.  After many years the grass starts to move closer and closer to the Middle of in-ground headstones.  You can ask if any headstones need a deep cleaning.  In certain areas headstones start to get covered in moss, soot, or salt ruining the headstone.

Donate Money
There are many charities out there to donate money too.  Do your research so you aren't giving your money to some big shot CEO.  I always ask how much of the money I am donating actually goes to the charity, you'd be surprised how much doesn't.

You don't have to be rich or spend money to volunteer, but the difference it will make in your life and the lives of those you helped is priceless!