Working for the good of others is a great way to spend family time. From donating old toys to preparing food for drop-off, parents and kids can enjoy working together as a unit to make their communities a better place for all who live there. International volunteer and donation opportunities also abound.


1) Look Close to Home

Check out local homeless shelters and ask for donation requests. Even if your children are very small, you may be able to prepare food at home to drop off at a local shelter. Extra garden produce can also be put to good use in shelters.


Some shelters offer birthday parties for children staying there on a monthly basis. Consider making cookies or another treat to donate. If your kids have always had plenty during the holiday season or for their own birthdays, this is a good chance to discuss the challenge of childhood poverty.


2) Get Outside

Many communities offer chances for families to gather and work for the community good by clearing up common areas. If your kids are old enough, take the family out to join in the cleanup with gloves, trash bags, and hand sanitizers for all. Even if you have to push a stroller, older children can help out with trash pickup or leaf raking.


You can extend this to carrying a trash bag out on family walks. Review your own neighborhood for areas that need to be cleaned up, and if you’ve got a neighbor who’s overwhelmed or struggling, pitch in. Many senior citizens struggle with isolation and may not be able to manage their yard or the weight of a trash bin. Setting up a weekly check-in is a way to get to know folks and help out, too.


3) Treasure Hunt At Home

Before you buy school supplies at the end of the summer, have your children go through old toys, clothing, and school gear. Anything that still has some life in it can be bundled up and donated to your child’s school if needed, or to another in the area. You can also reduce consumption by participating in a school uniform swap with neighbors or other parents at your child’s school.


Many children face going back to school without the required supplies. Your kids can better understand the challenges poor kids face by seeing those items donated to folks in need. Back to school time should be exciting and a fun chance for your kids to return to school with their friends.


4) Clean Out the Old Car

There are several steps to consider when working out how to donate a car, but you will need to make sure that all of your belongings have been pulled and that the car has been cleaned. Give one child a bag for garbage while you use a box for the items you want to keep and clear out your clunker while giving for the greater good.


You’ll need to find the title and record the VIN number. Older kids will likely benefit from an understanding of how to purchase a car, what financing is, and how automotive maintenance works in general. Get a picture of the whole family in front of the car before it gets hauled off.


5) Collect Cash

There are charities that can more easily buy products on the ground and could really use cash. Consider setting up a dedicated fund for monies to donate. For example, if your family knows someone directly struggling with a particular illness, create a donation jar with an image of that person. Let your kids see you slip spare dollars and pocket change into the jar.


You can also consider sponsoring a child overseas as a family. There are several religious organizations that offer chances to sponsor children and families in many areas of the world. International organizations like Childreach are another way to expand awareness of the world, study some geography, encourage your kids to start thinking out the politics of poverty and promote regular giving.


Giving creates a special joy. Donating time and money as a family can also give your kids the chance to see you as an individual of generosity and caring, not just as Mom or Dad who might say “no” to their requests.