Let’s face it: Christmas can be a time of spend, spend, spend. Children, and even us adults, eagerly await gifts. It is so easy to get caught up in the material part of the holiday. But family volunteering is a great way to take the focus off of commercialism and give. We all need a break from our own wants and to open our eyes to others’ needs. Not only will your family be doing something good for someone else, you will be growing together as a family. Win-win!
I recently had the opportunity to volunteer with fellow Alamo City Mom Bloggers with my seven-year-old daughter at a Snack Pak 4 Kids packing event. We both gained from the experience, and I can’t wait to include the rest of my family. Here are a few family volunteer ideas that your family can participate in:
Snack Pak 4 Kids: Provides food for children who might otherwise go hungry on weekends by packing food for them to eat on weekends. Even preschoolers can help at packing events.
SA Food Bank: The San Antonio Food Bank provides food and grocery products to more than 530 partner agencies in 16 counties throughout Southwest Texas. Families can volunteer together, but the youngest member must be eight years old. Click here for some facts and to register.
H-E-B Feast of Sharing 2016 takes place December 17, 2016. The Feast of Sharing is an annual community event held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and sponsored by H-E-B. Age limit to volunteer in the food line (hot food) or as a food & drink runner is 14 and over. To ensure everyone remains safe and has a good time, all volunteers ages 13 and under must work directly with an accompanying adult. Group volunteers must include group leader. Registration is full for this year, but add this event to your list to keep in mind for 2017.
SAMMinistries: With the help of SAMMinistries, you can provide gifts for a child who is facing homelessness. You will receive information with a child’s age, sex, and gift guide after registering.
City of San Antonio Animal Care Services: Volunteers make blankets and toys for pets in foster care. Held the fourth Sunday of the month. Please RSVP with the Volunteer Coordinator at (210) 207-6644 if planning to attend.
Meals on Wheels of San Antonio: Children can accompany a parent or adult older than 18 to deliver hot, nutritious meals to homebound seniors. Regular weekly routes available; alternate volunteers needed during holiday weeks and summer. Volunteers use their own vehicles to deliver meals.
Habitat for Humanity—Joshua Build: Age restrictions differ from that of the Habitat for Humanity construction sites, so this is a wonderful way for parents to work alongside little ones. You can join others, such as a church or civic group, who are already participating in this group project. Contact their Faith Relations Associate to learn more at (210) 223-5203, ext. 148, or [email protected]
San Antonio Humane Society: Children 12-15 can volunteer alongside a parent or adult older than 18. Volunteers help with walking dogs, socializing cats/kittens/puppies, taking photos/videos of adoptable animals, cleaning, and assisting with events and info booths. Volunteer hours are flexible—anytime between 8:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. every day except major holidays.
Angel Trees: Many local churches have Angel Trees, where you can pick an “ornament” off of a Christmas tree. Each ornament represents and includes information about a child in need, so you can donate items to help a child have a Christmas they would otherwise not get to have. My children have enjoyed selecting children who match their own sex and age and then picking out items they feel confident their Angel Tree children would like.
These are just a few suggestions, but check with your local church or civic group for even more ideas. The holidays are busy, but it would be great to volunteer a few hours for a family project. When the holidays are over, you might even decide that volunteering is something you want to continue with your family. Do you know of other family volunteer opportunities? Please share them in the comments!