As moms, we give so much to our children and families, yet it is also important to teach our kids the value of service to others. It can be more challenging to find time – and opportunities – to volunteer in our community once we have children. Fortunately, there are local organizations that accept youth volunteers. Below I’ve summarized some great ways that parents can volunteer with their children.
- Feed My Starving Children provides nutritionally complete meals specifically formulated for malnourished children. Volunteers are needed at their Mesa facility to hand pack food into bags, which are then shipped around the world. Each shift is two hours, and for safety reasons, children must be at least 5 years old to volunteer.
- Child Crisis Arizona works to build strong families and help at risk children. This organization serves the community through programs such as foster care and adoption services, classes and workshops, and an emergency children’s shelter. Individual volunteers must be 18 years or older, but younger children can join their VIP (Very Important Philanthropists) 4 Kids Club and organize a fundraiser or donation drive. This opportunity would allow parents to assist their children with a service project.
- United Food Bank provides 300,000 pounds of food each week to families in need. Volunteers sort and pack food for more than 200 agencies in their Mesa warehouse. Children 12-15 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
- If you are looking for a way to help the less fortunate during the holidays, The Salvation Army’s Christmas Angel program helps to make Christmas better for children who may otherwise not receive a gift. Children can help their parents take a tag from the tree at a local shopping mall, select a Christmas present for that child, and return it to the Christmas Angel tree. This activity is a great reminder for kids to be grateful for the gifts they receive.
There are also a couple of websites where parents can search for opportunities to volunteer with their kids throughout the year:
- VolunteerMatch – Simply enter your location and then select the “Kids” filter.
- HandsOn Greater Phoenix – Along with your other search criteria, enter the desired age in the “Appropriate For” filter.
Being of service to others is something that families can do together, and not just during the holidays. Hopefully these resources will guide you as you search for parent and child volunteer opportunities. Have fun serving together!