Charities in Your Community That Help Families in Need

It’s no secret that these times are tough on families all over the country. Money is tight, the job market is unstable, and the price of food and gas only seem to be increasing. Now is a more important time than ever to teach your children to help others less fortunate than they. There are many opportunities, right in your own town, to help members of your own community. Consider doing charity work in these four capacities.

Food banks or pantries. Contact your local food bank and ask what items they need most. Make copies of this list and have your children pass them out throughout your neighborhood, along with a collection date. Gather together leftover paper grocery bags or boxes and go from house to house, collecting items for the food pantry. Make sure you bring your entire family with you to deliver the items- seeing the food bank and people who come through its doors will help your children understand the gravity and reality of the situation.

Homeless shelters. Even though homeless shelters are free, there are many costs associated with running the shelter. The shelter depends on donations to fund the food, toiletries, bed sheets, coats, and clothing it provides to the homeless each day. Although it’s hard to think about, not everyone at homeless shelters are adults- there are many children that are homeless as well. Along with your children, go through your closets and find items that no longer fit or are no longer worn that can be donated to the shelter. Make sure the items are washed and in good condition. Gather everything together and deliver to the homeless shelter. Your children should come along on this trip too, for the same reasons that they visited the food bank.

Adopt a senior citizen. Senior citizens in our country are frequently forgotten. They are deposited in nursing homes to live out the remainder of the years, usually sharing a room with a complete stranger and only seeing their family sporadically, if they have family at all. During Christmas time, have your children invite friends to visit a local nursing home. Suggest they sing carols or even put on a play for the residents.

Letters to soldiers. Every community has been touched by the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most likely, there are young men from your very own town that are currently serving overseas. Tell your children about these brave men, and ask them each to write a letter to a soldier thanking them for their service. If your child is artistic, suggest they draw a picture to include with the letter.

Even though you may not see it on a daily basis, every community has residents that are in need. If you teach your children the importance of community outreach from an early age, they will take those lessons with them into adulthood.

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