Typically our Community Service blog features stories about Family Dinner Project related events in the community. Since these events slow down in the summer, I thought I’d use this forum to share some of the community service efforts my family contributed to this summer. While sometimes (OK, every time) my boys complained about what they were about to do, they always ended up making the best of it, and even enjoying it for part of the time.
One of The Family Dinner Project’s featured conversation starters for August is “Did you do something to help someone this summer?”
Here’s what our family did.
Early in the summer we donated to and helped sort clothes for families in need at the Cradles to Crayons factory in Brighton, Massachusetts. Our job was to inspect the clothes, check them for rips and stains, and then put the acceptable ones in the appropriate bins for distribution. The boys (ages 8&7) had fun turning their task into a basketball game. I’d like to say it all went perfectly, but my older son had a meltdown toward the end (see exhibit B, photo below).
Lessons Learned, kids: Many people cannot afford to buy new clothes. Donated clothes should be only those that you would still be proud to wear.
Lesson Learned, mama: Bring snacks for long volunteer stints or suffer the consequences.
On a Wednesday in July we went to a church in Arlington, Mass. Our mission? To make 40 turkey and cheese sandwiches for kids in need in our community. While I made the sandwiches with another adult volunteer, the boys took care of packing and counting the bags, and we delivered them to their local elementary school, just in time for lunch. At the end my son Ethan commented, “That was fun! Can we do it again?”
Lessons learned, kids: There are kids in their school system who have little to eat.
Lessons learned, mama: My older son would make a good foreman.
Thanks to Doing Good Together for the head’s up on this one, a good deed and an easy one at that! We made these cards at home after dinner, and recently received a nice thank you letter from the organization.
Lessons learned, kids: Many children don’t feel well and are in the hospital. It can be really easy to make someone’s day. Sometimes you have to be thoughtful about what you write/say.
Lessons learned, mama: I don’t know how to draw much beyond balloons, hearts and rainbows.
Hopefully the biggest takeaway for my boys from these experiences was intrinsic (and not just related to the donut reward at the end): It feels good to do good.
Did you do something to help someone this summer? We’d love to hear about it. Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.
And for more resources on how to do good together, see our Giving Tuesday resources from last year, including ideas and conversation starters about giving, and an awesome video of kids talking about giving.