Saturday, July 05, 2008

What do YOU say?

I've been putting together some thoughts for a summer column on volunteering with the whole family. I'd love to hear what some other people have done as volunteer activities that Mom, Dad and the kids can do together. The more specific the idea, the better!

If you have a great suggestion, leave a message in the comment section. I have a beautiful, brand new, Pampered Chef stoneware bar pan waiting for the poster of the most popular (by your votes here, of course) idea!

Hit me with your best thoughts by midnight(CST) on Tuesday, July 8th! Please feel free to share this with others.


Mary @ Cheerios said...

(wow! I am the first one! :))
Here is an idea that can fit my family and our volunteer-ism. There is a local food pantry that we can help out at. They really need help to check out all the exp. dates and get rid of the bad/old ones. They also need help to organize and stock the shelves. Even our little ones can help do these things. It does not take a long time and they rejoice in the fun of it and how we can help our neighbors in need.
God bless and happy July 4th!

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

We have all helped with the Boy Scouts' "Scouting for Food" program. It takes place over 2 weekends. On the first weekend, plastic bags are distributed (we did this at church, after Mass). Let me tell you, our little guy's cuteness went a long way as the kids handed out the grocery bags! The next week was "collection week." People would bring their filled bags back to church. Scouts & Scout families were waiting at each door, putting bags into wagons. The wagons were then taken to the truck at the back of the parking lot, and items were sorted for donation.

Renee said...

We make and deliver bag lunches for the local homeless shelter. This means buying the food, assembling the sandwiches, assembling the rest of the lunch, and delivering it to the shelter. The little ones help assemble the lunches, the middle ones the sandwiches, and the biggest do quality control and loading and unloading. I think I 'll have them start help with the shopping (my job) and the delivering.

Anonymous said...

We helped package food at Feed My Starving Children (locations in Minn and Chicago's western suburb of Aurora). Great for kids (over 5) and adults.

anne marie

Anonymous said...

Whenever our parish hosts the local PADS shelter (usually every third month or so), we provide two 5 lb meatloaves and four dozen cupcakes. The kids know why we are shopping for this special trip, how it is helps people who are having a difficult time helping themselves, and how every little bit helps. We have also made treat bags at Christmas for the shelter with candy and small encouraging notes. We have made Valentines for the sisters at the convent. We then deliver the food/gifts/cards to the places to receive them. There is a completeness to the act, seeing the place where their tangible efforts will be appreciated. My children don't hand the items out personally - for their safety and annonymity - but they are aware that such places exist (the homeless shelter). We sponsor a child in Ethiopia through Compassion. I think that it isn't so much as the act of volunteering as it is the fruits of the spirit such as generosity and kindness. These acts will hopefully bring awareness to my children that they can do something to help others.

Thanks! Laura Miller

Easter Almuena said...

Hello dear Jane,

I wonder if you would consider church service? My husband, my oldest daughter and I are with the cathedral choir while my 4 other children are acolytes.

Catholic family friends of ours are with a paddling group that welcomes low income families to become members. They clean our beaches to raise money to fix canoes and also to cover expenses of races.

Hurray Jane!!! So proud of you!


Jane (a.k.a. patjrsmom) said...

Wow, these are awesome and on a Saturday no less! I can't wait to share all these wonderful ideas. Keep 'em coming, friends!

You are THE BEST!

God Bless,

Soutenus said...

We are certified side walkers and lead-line walkers at a nearby therapeutic horseback riding stable.
The training is simple (especially if one has any experience with horses).
My youngest is too young to be helping in any "official" capacity but he is certainly old enough to visit with the riders as they wait for their lessons. It turns out that he knows a youngster who is now riding. She is a brilliant little girl with severe cerebral palsy.
There is plenty of need for volunteers in this kind of equestrian therapy.

Anonymous said...

Jane: I'm so glad you are writing about this topic. I would love to find a volunteer activity that our whole family can do together. Finding something the whole family can do is easier when one's family is the typical American family size. When we had only two children, we volunteered as a family at the homeless shelter. When the number of our children doubled from 2 to 4, we stopped volunteering there as a family. It's too hard making sure all my children are safe, busy and in nobody's way, while at the same time doing something that is considered "helpful" to others!

Laura said...

What we have done for several years is visit nursing homes as a family. If it is close to a holiday, the children will make several cards to bring that they hand out to the residents. It is easier to 'break the ice' for them. They introduce themselves and give them the card saying, "I made this for you" and then they can tell the person about the picture they made. If there is a piano at the facility, Claire will play a few songs. Andrew used to bring his violin as well and play a couple of songs. Often times we will just sing songs with hand motions...He's got the whole world in His hands....the wheels on the bus...etc...
Sometimes we visit residents in their rooms and ask them if they would like us to pray with them. They usually do. They love to see the children especially the very little ones and will often start crying.
You will bring SO MUCH JOY to some very lonely people. You will not believe how easy this is to do as a family! Thirty minutes of your time to bring smiles and tears of joy to others!

Margaret in Minnesota said...

My favorite volunteer activity is a tough one--we pray as a family next to the abortion clinic.

It's not the most cheerful of outings, granted, but my children are learning at an early age about the sanctity of life and that we are fighting a real battle here.

Awesome post, Jane!

Suzanne said...

Our family helps run the church food pantry. All the children help with carrying donations and stocking shelves. We also organize an Easter Dinner basket with all the fixings for needy families. This is nice because little ones can be very active in this too by sorting and shelving:-)