One of my most popular posts this time of year is a post I wrote about teaching our children generosity and gratitude. Though these are things that most parents are always wanting our children to learn, I think that we are especially focused on it as Thanksgiving draws near. One of the ways that I try to teach my children generosity is by doing a number of charitable things during the holidays. I wanted to share five charities that my family loves supporting during this season in case you are looking for ideas to do with your own family.
Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child is a project organized by Samiritan’s Purse that encourages people to fill shoeboxes with small gifts and necessities to be sent to those in need. In past years we have taken boxes home and shopped on our own to fill them. This year we went to a packing party in October and, as a group, filled 196 boxes in about an hour and a half. We made cards to put in the boxes and talked about where our boxes might end up. Operation Christmas Child is something we love doing as a family.
COLLECTION WEEK IS THIS WEEK but it’s not too late to participate! You can build a box online or you can fill a shoebox and drop it off at a collection site near you. Get all the details here.
Angel Tree is a ministry that provides gifts for children with a parent in prison. Their website talks about how 2.7 million children in the U.S. have a mom or dad in prison and how the children are often filled with the abandonment, loneliness and shame that come from having a mom or dad in prison. Angel Tree®, a program of Prison Fellowship, reaches out to the children of prisoners and their families with the love of Christ. This unique program gives you an opportunity to share God’s love by helping to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the families of prisoners.
Requests on the tree are usually very basic, such as pajamas, a winter coat or a simple board game. Purchasing gifts for children on the angel tree puts things in perspective for my children who never have to wonder if they will have a winter coat or pajamas to sleep in. Learn more about the program here.
World Vision International is an Evangelical Christian humanitarian aid, development, and advocacy organization. Every year around the holidays they have a gift catalog with gifts that you can donate to those in need. I wrote a few years back about our experience with World Vision’s gift catalog and how it inspired Jacob’s “Giving List”. He had asked why soccer balls were in the gift catalog and I had to explain to him that not everyone had soccer balls to play with like he did and how some children kick around a ball of trash and leaves because that’s all they have. It was amazing to watch as he realized that these people needed things that we take for granted like eggs, milk and water. The items in World Vision’s gift guide truly make a difference in the lives of others.
Compassion International is a monthly sponsorship program that lets you make a difference in the life of a child. While World Vision, which I mentioned above, does this as well, I don’t have any experience with their program. We sponsored a little girl named Rita through Compassion and I love that children can connect with the child through letters and photos. Sponsoring a child in need provides them with medical checkups, nutritious food, health and hygiene training, educational assistance, and mentoring among other things. Learn more about sponsoring a child here.
Heifer International works to empower millions to go from poverty to self reliance by providing alternative gifts of livestock, seeds, trees, training and more to families in need. Heifer’s strategy is the hope that these families will pass on the gifts- by sharing their animals’ offspring with others – along with their knowledge, resources and skills – to create an expanding network of hope, dignity and self-reliance that reaches around the globe. Like World Vision, they have a gift catalog as well.
Other things your family can do this season include donating hats, gloves & warm blankets to homeless shelters, donating food to food pantries and donating toys at a toy drive. There are so many people in need and I hope that this has given you ideas of ways your family can give back this year. I’ll be sharing another post soon with even more great charities to support during the holidays (and all year long!)
I’d love to hear what charities you support and how you help teach your children generosity. As a parent I can always use more ideas <3