It’s hard to even remember everything that has happened in the absolute rollercoaster this year was, even if it sometimes felt like we spent the whole year in one spot. In addition to the isolation our kids have been managing as best they can, they have added a few words to their vocabulary. Words like privilege and inequality. These words shouldn’t ever be used to shame children for the advantages they do or do not have, but to shine a light on how they can use everything they do have to create a world that is safe and just for everyone! These words can be used to empower our children to find ways to give, and to make a difference in their communities and the world we all share.
Lately, we’ve been thinking a lot about the opportunities our children have to give, and to change the way the world does business. We are excited to find more events and ideas, so if you have any we can share, please pass them on to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can still hear the echo of our grandmother telling us that there are starving children on the other side of the world any time we didn’t want to eat our Brussels sprouts. Today we have to wonder if she knew how close to home the problem truly was. One in five children in the United States is living with food insecurity. That means that your child’s own classmates may find themselves unsure of where their next meal will be coming from. Many would insist that there simply isn’t enough food to go around for the world’s vast population, but this simply isn’t the case. As of right now, more than one third of the world’s food supply ends up going uneaten into landfills.
Connecting with your local food rescue has the double impact of helping feed your community, and helping avoid the food waste that drives the cost of produce out of reach for your community’s most vulnerable citizens!
Many food rescues work directly with grocery stores and restaurants to come and “rescue” edible unsold food at the end of each day’s service. The food is loaded up and taken to soup kitchens and food banks to be distributed to those most in need. Many organizations rely on food rescues to provide free and low-cost produce for after-school programs and meal kits for under-served communities.
You and your family may even have the opportunity to participate in one of the food rescue’s harvest events. For many farmers, “ugly” produce can’t be sold to markets or restaurants simply because it doesn’t look perfect. Volunteers come out and pluck the less-than-pretty produce for the rescue, which then delivers it to those who turn it into delicious, nutritious meals for those in need.
Volunteering for a rescue or a soup kitchen can offer your child valuable insight into agriculture, the economy, kitchen culture, and food insecurity. It can also show them that every little bit helps, no matter how little the helper!
Donate a Birthday
Birthday parties have been a lot different this last year, but what if different could be an opportunity? Some very giving children we know have decided to donate their birthdays to a cause close to their hearts. Since they aren’t hosting parties, some have directed the funds to charities they love. One little one we adore directed would-be-party-goers to donate in her name to a local animal shelter, and another asked for donations to Meals on Wheels. Area food banks, refugee assistance services, and soup kitchens could always use a little attention and support as well. What an incredible way to learn what your child holds most dear!
There are countless reasons a person or family might find themselves without the things they need to make their lives work. Family to Family is doing what they can to connect those in most need with those hoping to share some of their abundance. Your family can adopt a veteran, a survivor, a family, or a refugee and supply them with the resources they need to create healthy, happy, and successful lives. Some families find a fit providing tech support and funding to children trying to distance learn, and others by supplying hot meals for families in need. Your child will see that to the world, they may be one person, but to one person they can mean the world.
Be a Pen Pal
No matter how new your child is to writing, those living in your local nursing home would be thrilled to try to decipher their handwriting! Hand-drawn pictures, stories, homemade cards, and someone to write back to can mean the world to center-bound seniors. And what child couldn’t use another honorary grandparent excited to see some of their original artwork arriving in the mail?
Contact your local nursing homes to inquire about protocols, what can and cannot be sent, and for a list of seniors looking for a sweet little pen pal like yours.
You and your family can now customize your volunteer experience! Visit www.VolunteerMatch.Org and choose from age-appropriate, distance-approved, skill-related volunteer opportunities that fit into your schedule. You might find work in a senior center, building homes, gardening, mowing, or cooking opportunities available in your area.
We have been so pleasantly surprised by our children’s resilience and adaptability in this very tricky year. We have been even more in awe of how the changing world inspires them to dig deeper. Our children deserve the best world we can give them, and empowering them to help make it a better place is a great way to ensure that it keeps getting better for generations!
Thank you for all that you have been doing to raise thoughtful, caring children! We are so thrilled to be living in a world they will soon design. We will keep doing our best to make it a safer, healthier, more loving world for us all!
Meghan and Alex