Giving Back at the Holidays

food bank rachelNow that December is upon us, many people are starting to get into the holiday spirit. For some, that means thinking about what they are thankful for during the year and wanting to pay it forward in the season of giving. Over the past year, my girls have volunteered in a few ways. Both have visited the Ottawa Food back and learned that not everyone in Ottawa has enough to eat each and every day. They've visited residents in nursing homes to play games and sing with them and have shared their allowance with the typhoon victims in the Philippines.

Giving back doesn't need to be big. It just needs to be meaningful. For kids, learning that there are people who need a helping hand is a great lesson in empathy and kindness. There are so many ways to get your kids involved. Here are a few ideas for you and you kids:

  • Donate to a charitable organization
  • Invite an elderly neighbor or someone who lives alone to join your celebration 
  • Deliver a meal to a family in need
  • Write a thoughtful note to someone special
  • Donate clothes you've outgrown
  • Donate food to a local charity or food bank
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  • Send a care package to a soldier
  • Visit hospital patients
  • Foster a dog or cat
  • Adopt an endangered animal through a zoo
  • Shovel snow for a neighbor
  • Help pick up trash at a local park
  • Join a church or school group that does community service projects

Giving back is a great thing to do all year round, but the holidays tend to bring out the charitable side in most people. Try some of these ideas with your family and make a difference this holiday season.

How does your family give back at the Holidays?

Earth Day 2013

green earthMonday, April 22 is Earth Day and it's fast approaching. What better way to celebrate than to start on an eco-initiative with your kids? Becoming eco-friendly at home doesn't need to be an exhausting endeavor. It can start with talking to your kids about the importance of  trying to protect our planet and its resources.  Think of some easy ways to being the idea of sustainable living to your home. Some simple ways include recycling your garbage at home, picking up trash at the park, making litter-less lunches for school or thinking of ways to conserve water and energy.

Teaching kids the message of Earth Day is the legacy we leave for future generations. The most important thing for kids to know is that Earth Day is not just one day of celebrating, but instead a reminder of what we should be doing all year long. As adults, it's our job to teach them this. Our kids do listen and learn from us.

If you're stuck for some ideas, check out Earth Day Canada for some great ways to go green.  Eco-Kids also has a great site to find games, activities  books and other ways to help our planet. If you're looking for some great eco-friendly and sustainable living products, our sponsor terra20 is a great place to check out.

How will you and your family help the environment this Earth Day?


A Trip to the Ottawa Food Bank

  I’m embarrassed to admit that I have never really thought much about volunteering with my children. We donate to charity and gather clothing for different organizations but I have never really come face to face with the concept of hunger and not having enough to eat. Neither have my children. That changed today with a trip to the Ottawa food bank.

In honor of a friend’s birthday, my daughters and some friends got together to help unpack, sort and box donated food at the east-end warehouse.  None of us had ever been there before and it was certainly an eye-opening experience.

food bank

In a tour of the facility, we learned that, on average, the Ottawa Food Bank helps 45,000 people per month. They have clients of every race, sex, part of the city, and age – including 37 per cent of whom are children. Some of their clients work, while others don’t. Some live alone, others live with families. Some have homes, and some sleep in shelters. We learned that there is no “type” when it comes to hunger.

This experience really made me see the positive impact that volunteering has on kids. I think they actually enjoyed the whole experience. It also opened up a discussion about people who are less fortunate than we are and how hard it is for some to make ends meet, even when they have the best intentions. I think it helped my girls appreciate what they have too. It made us all think about how the whole world is connected and that even one person can make a difference.

food bank rachel

The Food Bank couldn’t exist without the support of volunteers and donors, gifts of food and the gift of your time. Please check out their website to learn about the ways you can get involved.

Have you ever thought about volunteering with your children? At what age do you think they are old enough to understand the concept of fortunate and less fortunate?


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