With American soldiers being deployed in numbers not seen since the Vietnam War, there are many brave men and women who can use our support. Several organizations make it easy to send letters of thanks to currently serving and veteran soldiers, along with care packages, books, DVDs and other nice-to-haves.
If your playroom can pass for an art supply store, use those supplies to decorate some plain brown lunch bags for Meals on Wheels. This organization will fill the bags with the meals they deliver to seniors, and the bags will fill their day with good cheer.
Bake some yummy treats for your dog -- or your friends’ or neighbors’ pets! Or donate a batch of dog biscuits to your local animal rescue group. Use this simple recipe.
Ever wish birthdays came more than once a year? This project may help. Gather friends to fill birthday bags, which parents living in poverty can give to their children on their special day. Ask each friend to bring about 20 small, inexpensive, new toys for kids ages 3-12, and have someone supply gift bags and ribbon.
When children speak up about issues they feel strongly about, they learn about being confident, engaged citizens. To make it easy, put contact information for your elected officials (including a photo) in a prominent place, like the refrigerator.
Here’s a fun way to celebrate the day of love. Decorate a clean white ceramic plate with permanent markers. Write a verse around the rim (like the fun poem below).
Do you spend large chunks of your day driving your kids from place to place? Turn off the radio and use this time to practice kindness! Here are some ways to weave big-hearted conversations and projects into your travel time.
When you see a person who is homeless holding a sign on a street corner, are you unsure how to respond? This project can provide an answer. Fill resealable plastic bags with basic essentials and keep them in your car for an adult to hand out.
Start the new year by practicing an important life lesson: teach your child to imagine the world from another person’s viewpoint. Begin with simple questions: How do you think your teacher feels when the class isn’t listening? How do you think your classmate feels when he’s laughed at?
If you’ve ever helped another family get on its feet, you know how precious that assistance can be. Through a wonderful program called The Box Project, you can help a family living in rural poverty in America to become self-sufficient by offering them friendship, education, and supplies
Imagine living away from home to be near a child who is very ill. Many families in this situation stay at a Ronald McDonald House, and you can pitch in by making breakfast bags. Decorate paper lunch bags and fill them with nonperishable breakfast items like a granola bar, fruit cup and juice box.
Love animals? Provide a temporary (a few days to a few months) home for dogs or cats that need some attention because they are very young or because the shelter has limited space.
This holiday, one of the best things you can do is pick out a toy for a child in need. Take your child to help choose, and have older children earn part of the money or donate some of their allowance to help pay for the toy. Then go together to place your gift(s) in the collection box
Do the children in your life have enough video games, plastic toys and gadgets? If they do, you have options for more thoughtful gifts this season. These ideas will not only make you a star gift-giver, but you’ll also be spreading charity, kindness and compassion.
Create assistance kits on the theme of health or school. Church World Service (CWS) will store your kits until needed by disaster victims or people who require continuing aid. Your kids will enjoy picking out the supplies and assembling these badly needed kits. Emergency buckets filled with cleanup supplies are needed as well.
Can your family think of some “moving” words of poetry? They could be perfect for Car Window Poetry, Alex Lewis’s idea to attach uplifting poems or other sentiments to people’s cars. Simply create short, heart-warming poems, jokes or artwork. You can use the free Car Window Poetry cards available here.
Your family will have fun creating fleece blankets for people who need warmth and comfort this fall. You make them by tying knots rather than sewing, using these simple instructions. To see who might need your blankets, call nearby hospitals, homeless shelters, care facilities, or police and fire stations. Or deliver the blankets to your local chapter of Project Linus or Binky Patrol.
We all experience setbacks, big and small. But when parents view life’s inevitable setbacks as opportunities rather than as things to be avoided, kids will be more willing to take on new challenges and will develop the strength to cope.