After just walking through a tough season in my personal life, it has been more evident than ever that I want to model for my children how we can SERVE our community as a family. The families and friends that were there for us this past month left imprints on my heart that will never leave. What better legacy to leave behind than to model this for the next generation?
In polling various ways we can serve as a family around the community, there were SO MANY clever and creative ideas. Below is just a small sampling, but I can assure you that ANYTHING you may do to serve alongside your children will not only help those in need, but will leave a lasting impression on their little hearts as well.
As we enter the holiday season, let us be both thankful and mindful of those around us. Here are a few organizations you can get involved with in serving the community:
- Wee Volunteer – A great starting place! This organization hosts monthly service projects in the Dallas area. The opportunities to serve are specifically geared toward preschool and elementary school-aged children. They partner with organizations such as “Meals on Big Wheels,” “Mommy Manders Musical Outreach” and “Operation Kindness.”
- Brother Bill’s Helping Hand – A family-friendly organization that supports West Dallas through learning, encouraging, and relationships. Drop by to help stock the shelves at the grocery store, watch kids while their parents attend a class, or participate in their “birthday in a bag” initiative.
- Operation Shoebox – An inspiring organization that supports our troops both overseas and back home. Consider partnering with them to create a “care package” or “candy package” for a soldier.
If you aren’t quite prepared to plug in “officially” or your schedule is really hectic and busy, here are a few other simple things you can implement immediately to impact the community around you.
- Bring a meal to a family who just had a baby, got home from surgery, or is going through a difficult season. I’ll be honest, I cannot cook and bringing meals to people has always stressed me out. Do NOT let that hold you back! The person in need doesn’t care if you actually cooked the meal or picked it up at Central Market on your way (guilty). The GIFT is not having to think about it! Take that pressure off and just SHOW UP. Bring your kids when you deliver the meal (even if they stay in the car) and have them create homemade cards with scribbles and pictures for the family. If you are the “Pioneer Woman” type, allow your kids to help you in the kitchen and invite them into the conversation on what you are doing and who you are doing it for!
- Drop off cookies or sweet treats to your neighborhood fire department/police department. Bonus points: Doing it ON the actual holiday. No one wants to work on Holidays and their sacrifice ensures our safety. What a beautiful “tradition” to have with your family.
- Leave a cooler next to your trashcans on “trash day” and stock it with cold drinks. Have your kids be the ones who “restock” it each week.
- A wonderful idea I heard about was to have your kids host a “Lemonade Stand” in the neighborhood and use the money from that to buy school supplies for kids in need. With Christmas coming up, maybe a more seasonal approach could be a “Hot Chocolate/Apple Cider Stand” and use the money to buy gifts for a child off Salvation Army’s “Angel Tree” or Operation Christmas Child.
- Do a “toy purge” and have your kids join you in going to donate those toys to a local charity like Young Lives or a Goodwill. It will be good for you and them!
- Visiting nursing homes or hospitals always has a way of cheering people up! Bringing festive cards or treats and passing them out will pale in comparison to the smiles and hugs you will receive in return. Everybody wins in this situation!
As we enter this holiday season, let’s take a moment and count our blessings but ALSO BLESS those around us in our community! We will ALL be better for it.