The recent events in our country have weighed heavy on my heart. There seems to be such a lack of compassion, and I’ve spent many days trying to figure out what I can do. As a stay at home mom I often feel helpless, as it’s incredibly hard to volunteer with little ones. Donating funds to worthwhile organizations is great, but I really wanted to compile a list of family friendly volunteer opportunities parents could do with their children. I want my kids to grow up with hearts full of love, and I’m excited to let them get involved with me. This list is starting very small, and I promise to keep it updated as new ideas are sent to me or I discover more organizations. Please share your ideas in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.
Sign up to walk for a good cause. Here are some of the top annual national “thons”:
- Walk to End Alzheimer’s
- Avon Walk for Breast Cancer
- Bike MS
- The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life
- Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
- American Heart Association’s Heart Walk
- Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- Walk Now for Autism Speaks
- Walk to Stop Diabetes
- AIDS LifeCycle
- St. Jude Heroes for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
- Buddy Walk for National Down Syndrom Society
Collect sleep-away camp items for Camp Dreamcatcher, a program for children whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS.
Organize an activity at your local senior center.
Deliver for Meals on Wheels.
Donate kids’ craft kits to a local children’s hospital.
Serve a meal to the less fortunate.
Make a no-sew fleece blanket for a child in need through Project Linus.
Find out when the next sporting event is for your local Special Olympics teams, and go there as cheerleaders for the participants with signs, balloons, and noisemakers.
Host a shoe-cutting party for Sole Hope! With your old jeans, help make shoes for kids in Uganda.
Donate your gently used stuffed animals to a local firehouse or police station to give to children in emergencies.
Have a garage sale for a good cause.
Collect and donate to a food pantry.
Volunteer at Baby2Baby. Baby2Baby provides low-income children ages 0-12 years with diapers, clothing and all the basic necessities that every child deserves.
Volunteer at the Marine Mammal Care Center.
Play with animals at a local animal shelter.
Secretly rake leaves or shovel snow for a neighbor in need.
Stuff warm socks with snacks and pass out to people who are homeless.
Pick up trash around your neighborhood.
Collect supplies for babies and donate to a pregnancy center.
Make cards and send them to people you appreciate.
Have a lemonade stand for your favorite cause.
Plan an afternoon of fun at a children’s home or refugee center.
Pack up a backpack and supplies for a local child in need (the YMCA frequently collects these, in addition to other organizations).
Collect DVD’s and videogames you no longer use/watch and donate them to a Children’s Hospital for patients, or to KidFlicks, an organization that set up movie libraries in the children’s wards of hospitals.
Buy a kit from KidKnits– yarn made by widows in Rwanda or Chile, that comes with instructions to knit a hat plus cultural information. A simple craft to change the world!
Go through the books you’ve grown out of and donate them.
Volunteer for Operation Refugee Child . ORC distributes backpacks filled with basic necessities to bring comfort, health, safety and warmth to refugee children and families who have left everything behind.
Make boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Volunteer for Love in the Mirror. LITM is a charitable organization that strives to inspire young people to MAKE A DIFFERENCE through their volunteer commitment of providing disadvantaged youth and their families with basic necessities.
Make blessing bags to give out to the homeless, with organizations like Helping Hands Giving Hope.
Here are some other ideas people sent me. They’re kid friendly in the sense that you can do them while watching your little ones- but won’t involve them:
“5Calls.org – The premise: Spend 5 minutes, make 5 phone calls (a day, or as often as you can/want to). You plug in your zip code so they know where you are, and then the site auto-populates issues you can/should call your local congressional reps/senators about, provides a simple script alongside the appropriate contact information, and then lets you quickly note whether you talked to someone/left a message, etc. before moving on to the next phone call.”