10 Ways to Help Families in Need While Still Having Fun

10 Ways to Help Families in Need While Still Having Fun

During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and stress of social gatherings, shopping, and visiting friends and family. It’s also a time when giving back becomes even more essential. With so many people making sacrifices to provide for their families, charitable service organizations see a spike in demand for hunger relief programs during this time of year. Whether you have children who attend a school or are participating in some sort of after-school activities that require you to register beforehand, chances are that you will be asked to sign up as a volunteer sometime between now and Christmas Eve. And while offering your services is admirable, there are other ways you can give back without sacrificing your sanity. Here are ten suggestions on how you can assist less fortunate families with a little bit of fun while still keeping sane yourself.

Organize a holiday food drive.

One of the easiest ways to contribute to a less fortunate family is to organize a food drive. You can do this on your child’s school campus or in your neighborhood. Make sure to contact the school or neighborhood association beforehand to obtain permission to conduct the drive. Also, make sure to obtain a date and time that works best for everyone involved. Once you’ve figured out the logistics, you can ask everyone to bring canned goods or non-perishable items to donate. You can also ask if any neighborhood families might need assistance. You may be surprised by how many people need help. Not only will you be providing much-needed assistance to these families, but your children will be taught the valuable lesson of helping others in need.

Provide child care for a single parent.

If you have young children of your own, you know how difficult it can be to get out and do something for someone else. If you have plenty of time and energy, you might consider providing child care for a single parent who may need to run a few errands. After all, not all families can take advantage of programs like the Salvation Army and the Angel Tree. If you can offer a few hours of your time while a single parent goes grocery shopping or picks up medication, you are providing a much-needed service. Your gesture may be the only gift that single parent receives this holiday season. And while you may be giving up some of your precious time, your children will be learning valuable lessons about giving back and helping others.

Help out with meals at a shelter.

If you have time, consider helping out with meals at a local shelter. Many organizations will be hosting special holiday meals for the less fortunate or have special gift-giving events for children in need. You can also check with your local shelter to see if there is any way you and your family can help provide meals for residents. While there, you and your children have a unique opportunity to interact with those who are less fortunate. You can ask them what gifts they might like to receive for the holidays. You may be surprised by the answer, and your children will learn even more about those less fortunate than they are.

Offer your skills.

If you have a special skill that you can share with less fortunate families, you may want to consider doing so. If you are skilled in carpentry, you can volunteer your time to build a deck or other structure at a Habitat for Humanity site. If you are good in the kitchen, you can share your culinary skills by volunteering at a soup kitchen. If you speak a foreign language, you may be able to assist in helping immigrants or refugees in your community better understand their rights and services in this country. By sharing your skills, you are not only providing a valuable service, but you are also helping a less fortunate family save money that would normally be spent on hiring someone to perform these services.

Donate warm clothing and blankets.

Depending on where you live, winter can bring a chill that can be unbearable for those who are not able to adequately heat their homes. If you have any used warm clothing, such as coats and blankets, you can donate these items to a local charity. Bring your children along with you when you drop off the items. Let them know that the warm clothing and blankets they are donating are for people who are not as fortunate as they are. This can help put their giving into perspective for them and put a smile on their faces by seeing how their donation is helping another person.

Share the gift of music or dance.

If you have children who are musically inclined or dance-inclined, they may be able to volunteer their services to a less fortunate family by providing music or dancing at a family’s holiday gathering. This is a great way to help out while also sharing your child’s love of music or dance. You can find out if there are any organizations in your area that need musical performances or dancing at a special event. This can be a fun and memorable way to give back to the community and provide assistance to a less fortunate family.

Celebrate the holidays with other cultures.

If you have family or friends who celebrate different holidays than you do, consider inviting them to share in the festivities with your family. This is a great way to share the gift of different cultures and can help break down barriers of distrust between people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds. There are plenty of organizations that sponsor cultural diversity events. You can also check with your child’s school to see if any community activities celebrate different cultures.

Have fun baking and decorating cookies together.

If you have a little one at home who is too young to help out, consider having a family cookie decorating and baking party. Many charitable organizations, including some that provide food for the less fortunate, host cookie-decorating parties. You can also donate the cookies to a local shelter or other organization in need. By baking cookies with your children, you are not only assisting a less fortunate family, but you are also teaching your children valuable life lessons, such as the importance of giving and being thankful for what you have.

Games, games, and more games!

Finally, games can be a great way to help out those in need. If you have an old game that you no longer use, consider donating it to a local charity. You can also hold a game day, where you and your friends and family members bring their old games, and you play together and donate the games to an organization in need. Your children may feel little silly donating toys, but they will understand the significance of their gift. And, who knows, they may even end up donating their favorite board game or dice set. If you want to help out during the holiday season, there are plenty of ways to do so without sacrificing your sanity. From organizing food drives to providing child care for a single parent, there are many ways you can give back to your community.