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Giving Back and Teaching Gratitude

by Jill P

 

With the Thanksgiving season upon us, I try to incorporate ideas of being thankful and giving back into our lives as much as possible. I want my son to know that Thanksgiving is more than turkey and stuffing – and it’s about being thankful for all of the blessings that we have.

Below is a list of ideas for Thanksgiving-related activities for kids and families in the Kalamazoo area.

Donating Toys

This is an easy way for kids to experiencing sacrifice and generosity. Every few months, my son and I go through his room. We have a “save” box and a “donate” box. There are always a few toys that are very hard for him to give up. It’s a great chance for us to talk about how giving the toy to another family will give someone else a chance to enjoy it. These conversations are a nice way to discuss sharing, giving, poverty and generosity.

Christmas Wish List for Others

When we are putting together our own Christmas Wish List, we also created a Give List of toys that we think other kids would enjoy. Last year, we made a day of shopping with our Give List. We bought 5 or 6 toys we thought other kids my son’s age would enjoy. We brought them to our local Toys For Tots campaign to be donated to children in need.  Click on the link for donation drop-off locations.

Food Pantry

Last year, my son and I made a plan to collect and donate food to our local food pantry. He wrote notes to all the neighbors, telling them he’d be walking around the following week to collect donations. We took the collection to the food pantry, and discussed the role of the food pantry in our community.  Loaves and Fishes has a “wishlist” of wanted items on their website.

Making Cards for the Elderly

This allows my son to use his creativity while keeping in the giving spirit. I purchase 10-20 blank cards, and my son decorates them with a Christmas theme. We wait for closer to Christmas and then deliver them to the local nursing home.

Make a Plan to Volunteer

Check out some of the great volunteer opportunities in our community. The Salvation Army is looking for bell ringers this holiday season. There are many area coat drives that you can donate your gently used coats. Or check out the volunteer needs in our community here.

There are plenty of other awesome and innovative ideas out there.

If you have a creative idea you’ve used in your home, please share your idea!