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Supporting Local Charity: Great Ways For Kids To Give Back This Summer

10 Jul 2014 – 10:25 PM EDT

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Looking for tips and ways to get kids involved in giving back to the local community this summer? In between the hustle and bustle of summer camps, days at the beach, and family trips, I wanted my kids to learn a bit about giving while they’re away from the classroom.

Finding ways to give back to charity can be easy, but you do have to do a little leg work to make sure that the organization you want to help actually needs the help. Finding out exactly what is needed beforehand can help make this experience great for everyone. We recently stumbled upon a site that helps match volunteers with organizations. While they might not have all the organizations in every town listed, it’s a great starting point!

When looking for ways for kids to give back this summer, make sure to ask ahead if there are any age limits for volunteers. Most organizations should have this information on their website.

Clean Up Your City

Since we live by the beach we love participating in our beach clean ups. Not only does it help our environment, it also teaches our children the importance of recycling and properly disposing of waste. There are quite a few beach clean ups in our area after big summer holidays like the 4th of July.

Don’t live by the beach? Look into other beautification projects your city may be running. We also have the opportunity to clean up the canyons around our homes as well. It’s as simple as showing up with some good gloves and a bottle of water. They’ll show you how to do the rest!

Donate Time To A Soup Kitchen

Soup Kitchens aren’t just for the holidays. Check out your city’s soup kitchens and see if any are in need of some extra help this summer. Whether you and your kids can serve one night a month or one night a week, every bit of time helps!

Give To A Food Bank

If there aren’t any food kitchens in your neighborhood you may be able to do something as simple as collecting canned goods and non perishables for a local food bank. Our favorite food bank, Mama’s Kitchen, is always looking for donations for their Mama’s Pantry.

Consider asking a charity organization for a bin or signs and see if you and the kids can collect donations outside of grocery stores, community centers, etc. But remember to get permission from the store first before setting up camp.

Spend Time With The Elderly

Call the local nursing homes in your area and see if any can pair you up with an elderly person in need of a little companionship. By spending a bit of time each week (or each month) with them, you may be making a world of difference in their later years.

I have so many fond memories of the older senior citizens in my neighborhood who came to visit the kids at the community center where I grew up. They taught us how to knit, sew, and quilt. They were also rich with wonderful stories of the past that always intrigued me and my friends. Giving back to them after all they taught me only seems right.

Write Cards To The Military

Even if your child’s parent isn’t overseas that doesn’t mean he or she cannot write to a soldier. For information on what to include and how to submit your letters, check out Operation Gratitude.

If your child doesn’t yet write, consider Operation Write Home. While active duty soldiers appreciate the huge amount of notes and letters they receive from citizens, many would prefer to be able to simply write home to their loved ones. Operation Write Home offers them that opportunity by sending blank, handmade greeting cards that service members can send back home, along with 20-30 letters of encouragement from citizens.

Operation Write Home asks for supporters to donate money to help cover costs or to make their own card design to help brighten the correspondence of active military. Since 2007, nearly 2 million cards have been sent to soldiers overseas.

Photo Credit: I Love A Clean San Diego