Helping your child figure out what it means to give back to your community, and understand the idea of helping others can be simple. The organizations are numerous, so it’s best to do your research or ask a friend about which non-profit organizations are family friendly. If you want to help the hungry, check with your local food pantry.
If your child loves animals, check your local animal shelters to see what they need. It’s best to keep your community outreach simple. Children have natural empathy for others and to show them how to help those in need while they are young is quite rewarding.
Open ended questions are a good way to begin. If your outreach is to help feed the hungry you can ask your child…
Have you ever been hungry and not been sure when you’d get your next meal or snack? What did or what would that feel like?
What do you think would happen to your body and your feelings if you were hungry often?
Why is it hard to imagine what it’s like to be hungry when you always have plenty to eat?
A good book to read together about helping the hungry is Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt. This book brings the idea of being hungry to life so your child can begin to comprehend what it might be like to be hungry all the time.
Building the reason behind the outreach is most important so your child connects with what comes next.
Once you’ve reached out to your local food pantry, you can actually ask to take a tour and let them show you how it all works. You’ll see how different foods are organized and what foods they are always lacking and how the needy families get to go shopping to choose the foods that best fit their family’s needs.
Once your child truly understands, you and your child can begin collecting food items that your local food pantry needs. You can go to the grocery store and talk about what foods are needed and put them in your grocery cart. You can talk about how one simple can of green beans, for example, can do so much for a family meal.
Check drop off times with your community food pantry to ask when is the best time for you and your family to bring your food to the pantry. Stay in touch with the food pantry, many have online access through social media, so you and your child can schedule your visits and know what foods they are lacking.