Volunteering is such a great way to help others and change lives, including our own. Opportunities abound for young adults and grown-ups to volunteer. But what about kids of preschool or elementary school age? Sharing the joy of volunteering is something that many parents want to offer to their young children, but the opportunities are not as available. The following is a guide for not only finding ways for your entire family to participate, but also to join the nation in helping others on Make a Difference Day this Saturday, October 22.
Local places to volunteer as a family
Feed My Starving Children
Feed My Starving Children packages meals for distribution to countries with economic hardship or effected by natural disaster. Preparation of the dried meals is fairly simple with duties including measuring rice and vegetables so it works well for younger kids when working along with an older family member. The minimum age requirement for Feed My Starving Children is 5 years old and there is a child-to-adult ratio requirement. Locations are available in Chanhassen, Eagan and Coon Rapids. Visit their website to register your family to volunteer.
Community Trash Pick-Up
Picking up litter in local parks or other community areas is good for families with young children if there is proper supervision. Make sure they wear gloves, instruct them not to pick up dangerous items such as glass and have an adult or older child walk with them. Kids seem to love the scavenger element to this and babies can even come along strapped to their parents chest. Washington County and the city of Inver Grove Heights are just a few of the parks and recreation departments looking for these type of volunteers.
Animal shelters are always in need of items like cleaning supplies, bedding and pet food. Have your kids round up these types of items for donation from their friends and neighbors. If you and your children feel comfortable cleaning cages or playing with the animals, most shelters welcome this as well, although you will want to check each locations minimum age requirement for this. Area shelters currently looking for volunteers include Caring for Cats in North St. Paul and Animal Ark in Hastings.
Other resources to find volunteer opportunities for your family
Have your kids throw a party where all the guests donate a book with Milk + Bookies.
Children can color a picture and send it to a nursing home with Color A Smile.
Check out websites like Volunteer Family, Hands On Twin Cities or Volunteer Match to check out the needs in your area.
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