The holidays are all about sharing and goodwill for your fellow man. This is an important lesson for children to learn, as it helps develop them into responsible, socially-oriented members of the community. Teach your kids the true value of helping others by getting them to participate in holiday volunteer programs. San Mateo kids have two great opportunities in the holiday season.
Give Holiday Donations to the Samaritan House
Samaritan House is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing care and services for the less-fortunate. Every holiday season, they put up a wish list for items needed by the individuals in their care. Items on the list include toys, non-perishable foods, holiday foods, and gift certificates for food and clothing.
Given the variety of items needed by Samaritan House, you and your kids can volunteer in a number of ways. You can, for example, get your kids to start a toy drive for Samaritan House. They can ask their friends and classmates to donate any old toy in good condition, and bring them all together as a toy donation to the center.
You can also ask your kids to do the same for clothing and food. Just make sure that the clothes are in good condition, and the food they get won’t spoil quickly, such as crackers and other dry foods. If you’re planning on donating near the holidays themselves, you can choose to donate holiday foods like canned pumpkins.
Alternatively, you can take your children on a charity grocery trip, in which they pick out extra food items to give to the needy. While this may not make them feel as involved with the community as going door-to-door for donations, it still gives them the rewarding feeling of having done something good for someone else.
The holiday program runs from November to December. You can take your kids to the drop-off point at 4031 Pacific Blvd., San Mateo, CA and let them make the donation personally. If you’d like to coordinate with Samaritan House for more volunteering opportunities, give them a call at 650-341-4081. You can visit Samaritan House’s website, http://www.samaritanhouse.com, for more information.
Put Together a Holiday Dinner Basket for Families at First Step for Families
First Step for Families is one of the shelters under the Shelter Network, which helps house homeless families throughout the Peninsula. Every year, they hold a variety of holiday programs, including Adopt-a-Family and holiday gift drives. Your kids will probably feel most involved, however, by participating in the Holiday Dinner Basket program.
Every Thanksgiving, Holidays, and New Year’s Day, families at Shelter Network homes put together holiday feasts to celebrate. However, their kitchen may not be as stocked as they’d like. You and your kids can help make sure they have a good meal by putting together a holiday dinner basket full of goodies to eat.
You can either give them the ingredients needed for their meals, or throw in some ready-to-eat food items like cakes and pies. Another good idea is to provide gift certificates to groceries, so they can buy fresh perishable foods. Your kids can offer ideas on what to fill the basket with, and collect the items themselves on your next grocery trip.
Instill the spirit of charity in your kids by letting them involve their friends and neighbors in this project. They can work side-by-side with each other to make a large number of baskets, or they can go door-to-door for donations. Either way, asking them to get more people to participate in the program builds their sense of involvement and responsibility to the community.
You can increase their involvement even more by allowing them to personalize the baskets. They can decorate the gifts as they see fit, as well as insert a greetings card for the families receiving the baskets. Adding this personal touch makes the act of giving a lot more significant.
First Step for Families is located at 325 Villa Terrace, San Mateo, CA. They accept donations from Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm. You can also make weekend drop-offs by calling them at 650-340-8814 and scheduling an appointment. You can get more information on the other volunteering opportunities by visiting Shelter Network’s website