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 give back and 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 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. Kids can learn empathy at a very young age and will become more invested in philanthropy as they are included in the process.
Not sure how you can involve the kids and give back to your community this holiday season? Here are 5 ways to give back with your kids 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 213 Bedford Hwy, 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 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 3 great community-based organizations that welcome any help over the holiday season:
Adsum offers a range of services and support to women, families, youth and trans persons during periods of homelessness. They provide services and support to more than 1,000 people each year. Donate – Adsum House
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. Donate – Phoenix House
Veith House has been serving the North End of Halifax since 1970. In the last 40+ years, Veith House has been a neighborhood house providing programs and services to children, families, and individuals affected by poverty. Donate – Veith House
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.
4. Welcome a New Canadian
One of the best ways for children to learn to give back is to understand that money is not the only way to help our neighbours in need. There are many ways to help our new friends adjust to their new home, including hosting a Christmas dinner or a gathering throughout the holidays.
5. Wrap Gifts in Support of Local Charities
The Halifax Shopping Center has a gift wrapping booth in support of four local charities – Canadian Progress Club Halifax Citadel, Feed Nova Scotia, Make-A-Wish Atlantic Provinces & Nova Scotia SPCA – Dartmouth Shelter and is looking for volunteers to help out from November 25th – December 24th. The wrapping booth is located on Level 2. Sign up for a shift by contacting Guest Services firstname.lastname@example.org (902.454.8666) or lend your support by getting your gifts wrapped while you shop!
The holiday season is an opportune time for us to teach children about charity and to encourage 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!
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