Roll Up Your Sleeves Together for Holiday Volunteering
Food Lifeline offers volunteering opportunities for Younger Hunger Heroes.
PHOTO COURTESY OF FOOD LIFELINE
To children, the season of giving all too often turns into the season of getting: it’s all about the newest toy and the biggest stack of gifts. Involving kids in volunteering experiences where they can see the difference one person can make in the community offers an opportunity to gain perspective.
Volunteering breeds civic responsibility, instilling in children their sense of duty to their community. It helps them see how lucky they are to have what they do, and to see the humanity in those who have less. While regular volunteering throughout the year is best, it becomes conspicuously important during this time of excess. Now is the time to begin the habit of volunteering. Whether it’s continued next week, month or year, getting started is the hardest part. It can be difficult to find opportunities for younger children to help out, so we’ve gathered some places that can use your family’s generous help.
Holiday Stockings for Homeless Children keeps a few spots open for kids at their annual holiday stocking making event for homeless children. During the Dec. 9-10 event, volunteers help to put together handmade holiday stockings filled with new gifts and useful essentials for kids living in shelters around Puget Sound. Children under 12 are asked to have a 1:3 adult to kid ratio. holidaystockings.org
Food Lifeline specifically offers opportunities for “Younger Hunger Heroes” (6 and up) to help sort and pack food for distribution. Their website offers easy-to-sign-up sessions throughout the month for families and groups. youth.foodlifeline.volunteerhub.com
Children looking to help other children should look to Eastside Baby Corner, which opens all of their opportunities to children 7 and up (each child needs to be accompanied by an adult who will work 1:1 with them throughout the shift). The opportunities, mainly helping to sort and organize donated clothes, are at their Bothell, Bremerton and Issaquah locations. babycorner.volunteerhub.com
A similar but more active opportunity: children 6 and older are welcome to work shifts (accompanied by an adult) at the Treehouse’s Wearhouse. The free store lets youth in foster care and their families shop for clothing, books and toys. Volunteers sort donations, prep merchandise and set up the store. treehouseforkids.org
For the youngest children, it’s not as practical to go out and volunteer, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a part of the holiday season. Wellspring Family Services’ Kids Helping Kids program lays out easy steps to help your kid raise money for the organization. When they’ve reached their goal, they can drop off their donation and Wellspring will set up an age-appropriate tour, so your kid can see the impact they’ve made. wellspringfs.org
Look for more volunteer opportunities, sortable by kid-friendliness, at volunteermatch.org