How can parents and grandparents bring up their children to understand the importance of helping others?
There are many ways for children to contribute to charities without giving money. Children can earn money from a allowance or by earning points that represent money by doing certain chores, favors, or behaviors for which they are rewarded.
Once they have a reasonable amount saved, have them strategize on how they can give it away to the less fortunate. Search for a local charity that can accept gently-used clothing, toys, furniture or non-perishable food items. Once a charity is chosen, find a box and plan to fill it with appropriate items that the children collect and have parental permission to give away. Two broad categories are:
Needs of charities are not all financial. Some collect blankets or clothing for sheltered or injured animals, and others accept stocking caps and lap blankets for people with medical issues, or toys and blankets for toddlers. Clothing that is used, but not worn out, can be donated to homeless shelters. T-shirts, sweaters and sweatpants that are taking up space on a shelf, in a drawer, or on a hanger in the back of the closet are of great value to someone who has nothing.
Let the kids research and choose the charity and be involved in every step of laundering, shopping, or boxing the chosen items. After delivery, have them write a short letter to the charity staff about what they learned and felt.
One in six people in the U.S.A. go hungry everyday, and many of them are children. Have your kids or grandkids decide to donate a non-refrigerated item that they love, such as their favorite cookie, cereal, cake, or candy bar.
Take them to the store, let them use their allowance or reward money to buy their favorite food, then deliver it to a pantry, food bank, or soup kitchen.
Both of these “kid-friendly” ideas will leave a lasting memory of the feeling that humans get when they genuinely help others with intention. It can prepare them to be generous adults, and perhaps tomorrow, great philanthropists.