The holiday season offers the perfect opportunity to teach kids about the importance of kindness and the giving spirit. Make the holidays more meaningful this year by trying real actionable ways to give back to the community. From collecting canned foods to making baby blanket, there are so many different ways to volunteer as a family and help people in need.
Here are some ideas on how you can volunteer during the holiday season and what the benefits are of teaching your kids how to give back to your community.
15 Ways To Volunteer as a Family During the Holidays
1. Adopt a Family
Churches and businesses frequently provide giving trees. You may also purchase presents for families that have requested them by selecting a tag from the tree.
If you live in the Los Angeles area and you’re looking for a volunteer activity, join us in Local Anchor’s 2nd Annual Project Holiday Helpers adopting families in need this holiday season. If even if you’re not local you can still sponsor a family by purchasing items from the Amazon Wish List.
Looking for more volunteer opportunities in Los Angeles? Check out our guide to the best places to volunteer as a family all year long.
2. Find a Local Toy Drive
Participate in a community toy drive by asking around at work, your church, school, or through social media. Purchase, wrap, and deliver gifts to a local non-profit to help families that are struggling. Toys for Tots runs toy collections across the U.S. for anyone looking to give back.
3. Create a Local Food Drive
Get together with your friends and family to collect non-perishable food and donate it to a local food pantry. You can get your kids involved by having them decorate the food boxes or helping you load the car and carry the groceries. Check out our guide to running a canned food drive for more ideas.
4. Make Holiday Cards
Create handmade holiday cards for seniors in assisted living facilities, veterans, incarcerated youth, victims of domestic violence, or military families. Your kids will be delighted to see the joy on someone’s face when they open their special card!
5. Make No-Sew Blankets
You don’t have to be an expert with a sewing machine to make no-sew fleece blankets. All you need is some fabric, scissors and knot-tying skills, which makes this a great volunteer project for kids and adults. There are dozens of organizations that collect no-sew fleece blankets for donation, including Project Linus, Binky Patrol, and the Snuggles Project.
6. Give a Homeless Shelter a Facelift
Organize a food or storage room for the local homeless shelter, or help out by cleaning. This can be as simple as arranging donated clothes by size and color or as big as moving furniture around and painting walls. Shelters always have a need for volunteers, so just ask what you can do to serve.
7. Help Out at Your Local Soup Kitchen
Prepare and serve meals, greet guests at the doors, or set up tables for a local soup kitchen. Your kids will be able to see the difference they are making in their own neighborhood and be grateful for the chance to give back.
If kids are too young to work at shelters and soup kitchens, you can look for opportunities to package and deliver meals instead.
8. Make Care Packages
Gather some hygiene items, school supplies, warm socks, and gloves to create care packages for low-income families or those experiencing homelessness. Assembling food baskets is another wonderful activity for everyone involved.
9. Make a Holiday Meal
Bake some Christmas cookies or a holiday meal to share with an elderly neighbor who doesn’t have family nearby. Nothing says holidays like a family dinner at your house!
10. Donate Toys and Clothes
Help your kids clean out their outgrown clothes or toys they don’t play with anymore. Donate whatever you are able to a local charity or shelter to help others.
Offer to help a single mother or stay-at-home-mom with her children so she can go out and enjoy a well-deserved break. Having new friends to play with will be enjoyable for your kids too.
12. Host a Coat Drive
Collect coats from neighbors and people in you community to donate to a shelter or anyone experiencing homelessness.
13. Send a Care Package to a Soldier
Sending a holiday care package is one of the best ways to show appreciation for our troops. You can learn more about this opportunity through Operation Gratitude.
14. Foster a Pet
Animal shelters and rescues can use help no matter what time of year. Volunteer as a foster family until dogs and cats can find their fur-ever homes. Many shelters also need volunteers to walk dogs and play with animals. Contact your local animal shelter to find out their needs.
15. Visit an Assisted Living Facility
For those living in assisted living communities, the holidays can be a lonely time. Contact a local facility and see if they can use a helping hand during the holidays. Many places will be glad to have you visit to spread some holiday cheer.
Singing carols, playing games, reading a book, or doing a craft are all easy activities that kids and seniors can do together. You can also bring thoughtful gifts of items like, fuzzy socks and puzzles.
Benefits of Volunteering With Your Family
Taking time to volunteer with your family during the holidays is a special experience for both adults and kids. Finding opportunities to volunteer teaches your kids the values of kindness and generosity, and can even make you happier.
When you volunteer as a family, you don’t have to worry about finding someone to watch your kids for the day. Instead, you get the chance to spend meaningful time with them.
Volunteering can help kids to learn beyond what they see in their classrooms. They get to explore new worlds and meet new people with different backgrounds. It’s an opportunity for them to try new things and broaden their horizons!
Since holidays are meant to be enjoyed with the people that you love, find ways throughout the season to help those in need. Volunteering with your family is a wonderful way to develop a closer relationship while also having fun. By creating new traditions with your children around the holidays, they will grow up knowing the true meaning of giving back.