The holidays can be a time to reflect and a time to renew your inner spirit. As parents, we are always looking for ways to instill kindness and generosity in our children. The holiday season is a great time to elevate your spirit of giving and help children learn about the importance of reaching out to others to give back in their time of need.
Whether your children are donating their time, their allowance, or their ideas, it’s important to start with basic information on why you are doing what you are and why it is important to give back. Kids can learn empathy at a very young age and will become more invested in philanthropy when they are included in the process.
Not sure how you can involve the kids and help your community this holiday season? Here are 5 ways to give back and make a difference to someone else’s Christmas this year.
1. Donate to FEED NS/your local food bank
You can involve your children in the grocery shopping process by finding nutritional food that they pick out, purchase, and place in the donation box, all by themselves! If you volunteer at FEED NS, your children (8 years and older) can accompany you on volunteer shifts. There are also opportunities at your local food banks for older children to volunteer.
FEED Nova Scotia appreciates and welcomes both perishable and non-perishable food donations. You can drop off donations at their warehouse at 67 Wright Avenue in Dartmouth, weekdays from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm. Non-perishable food donations can be placed in the donation bins at most grocery stores across the province. You can also donate food directly to your local community food bank. The following links will provide locations of community food banks and ways to donate this Christmas:
2. Donate Money/Gift Cards to a Community Based Organization
Nothing gives children more of a sense of independence than using their ‘own’ money. A friend told me of a great idea where his kids divide allowances/birthday money into 3 jars labeled, ‘save, spend and donate’. Children can decide how to donate their money and you can offer suggestions to causes that align with their interests. Here are 5 great community-based organizations that welcome any help over the holiday season:
Adsum offers a range of services and support during periods of homelessness. They provide services and support to more than 1,000 people each year. Shop online or from their Christmas Wish List to help make someone in your community smile this Christmas.
Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank has been brightening Christmases for low-income families for over 30 years! If you would like to help families in HRM, they will gratefully accept donations to their Christmas Hamper Program.
Phoenix House is a non-profit, community-based organization dedicated to supporting youth between the ages of 11 and 24, families, and communities across multiple locations in Halifax. Help make the holidays bright for youth and families by donating to their Holiday Wish List.
Shelter Nova Scotia provides a safe place to stay for those in need. They also operate the newly opened Housing Hub Drop-In on Cunard Street. Donations to their Care and Comfort Wish List would be greatly appreciated this holiday season.
Veith House has been serving local residents since 1970. They are once again fundraising for families in need this holiday season. Last year they supported over 200 families! To help children and families in need, contact them by email at email@example.com or call 902-453-4320 and say you want to talk about Happy Holidays!
3. Donate a Toy
Children could choose to use some of their saved money to shop for a new toy. Some organizations request donations for specific families and provide ages of the children in need. This can definitely add a personal touch when you go shopping.
There are many toy drives throughout the province during the holiday season where you can donate a new toy to brighten the holidays for a child in need. Here are some of the toy drives in HRM:
4. Help to Prepare and Serve Christmas Dinner
Food is music to the soul and you can help to bring joy to your community this holiday season by helping to prepare and serve Christmas Dinner. Souls Harbour Rescue Mission serves up to 400 men, women, and families a 3-course Christmas dinner each year. These events can take up to 100 volunteers to host meals. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 902-405-4663 for more information.
5. Bring Joy to a Senior Citizen
The holiday season can be a lonely time for some of our most loved and valued citizens. Spread holiday cheer to someone who will be alone or is in need this Christmas. Santa’s for Seniors reaches out to various community groups to coordinate stockings and holiday surprises for Seniors. One thing that’s sure to bring holiday joy is a Christmas package with a card or artwork from a child!
The holiday season is an opportune time for us to teach our children about the spirit of giving. Our children learn by what they see so the most positive impact we can make is by simply being a good neighbour, family member, and friend. Let’s all spread some holiday cheer! Happy holidays, everyone!