When I ask my adult children their favorite memories of Christmas as children, they tell me, “It is when we volunteered together as a family.” That can really warm a mama’s heart to know her child grasped the true meaning of the holiday. We have so many festive activities we can attend in December, but one thing I tried to make a priority was ways to give back. Christmastime is an awesome opportunity to volunteer as a family. I wanted to take advantage of the spirit of giving to teach my children to give as well as receive. Here are 5 ways that our family has volunteered over the years.
1. Toy Drives
At many malls, schools, and churches around town, you can find a toy drive dropbox. Toys for Tots is a popular organization that accepts new unwrapped gifts. Our church would collaborate with local children’s hospitals and foster homes to collect toys for children in need. We always enjoyed being a part of bringing the joy of Christmas to children that otherwise would not have received gifts. My family has many fond memories of Santa bringing gifts to a sick child in the hospital or parents picking out gifts in a makeshift toy store filled with donated toys. This is a simple and easy way to teach even the youngest child how to give to others.
2. Sponsor a Family
One year my husband worked for a trucking firm, and we filled a large box truck with food and gifts and delivered them to families in need. In addition, last year our neighbors had just moved to Miami from Ecuador and didn’t have furniture, let alone money for gifts. After putting the word out, God sent His angels and we were able to furnish the home, get gifts for their children and even provide a Christmas tree. You can check with your local churches or schools. They usually have a list of those in need.
3. Christmas Caroling
During the holiday season, there are many people in children’s hospitals and care facilities. Christmas caroling is a simple way a family can volunteer together. Like Buddy the Elf says, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” And no matter the sound of your song, just the gift of your time can bring smiles to the faces of a sick child or the elderly.
4. Operation Christmas Child
Samaritans Purse is an organization run by Billy Graham’s son, Franklin Graham. Each year they accept shoeboxes full of goodies (school supplies, toiletries, and small toys) for children in other countries. You can go to their website to find out collection dates and locations in your area.
5. Homeless Shelters
One year we contacted Women in Distress, a local organization in our community that assists women in need. We were able to sponsor a mom and her children. Another family favorite way we give is collecting turkeys and hams for Miami Rescue Mission. Many shelters rely on the food donated at the holidays to feed the hungry way into the next year.
Christmastime is an awesome opportunity to volunteer as a family. What started as a way to teach the true meaning of Christmas has now turned into a way of life for my kids. Now they are teaching their children this wonderful family value. My Mimi heart is on fire!!
Share some ways that your family has volunteered together. What is one new way you will volunteer together this year?