Posted by: instanthausfrau | December 10, 2006

Giving.

Door 10 | December 10th | A subject dear to my heart today: giving to those in need. As the Season kicks into gear, Angel Trees, Toys for Tots collection boxes, and other present distribution systems seem to be everywhere. Take some time to find a cause that is dear to your heart (or perhaps important to your child). Whether it’s a donation of food to a shelter for the homeless (or food to a local animal shelter), toys for kids living in poverty, or something off the wish list at a domestic violence shelter, take the time to give.

Older children often enjoy picking a child to shop for off an angel tree. If you don’t have the money to spare a gift, your time volunteering can make a huge difference to an organization in need. Better yet, some agencies will be an okay place for your children to volunteer too. And nothing gives a better feeling than they joy of helping others.

A dirty little secret of the Social Services is this: donations given at Christmas have to be made to last the year. That’s right — your generosity now doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be giving a gift a child will see at Christmas. It may end up being a birthday gift in May, or a welcome gift in September. Because the Holidays are a time when people remember to give, to open their hearts and share in the generosity they’re receiving, at least 75% of the donations an agency receives will come now. So please, do your part to keep these places working and helping those in need. Treasure what you have, and share with those who don’t. Without you, they can’t continue to give.
Here are some local places to start:

  • Baby Boutique: I’ve mentioned them here before. That’s because they are so good for so many different families. Don’t let the name fool you, they aren’t just for babies. Any toys, items (like cribs, bouncy chairs, etc) or clothing for children up to age 18 are welcome donations to this agency, which in turn serves families staying in any of Seattle’s shelters. Their wish list can be found online here.
  • MEOW: Another deceptive name, as MEOW also serves to help dogs in the area, this pet-rescue organization really works for the best interests of their feline and canine clients. While you may not be ready to provide a “forever home” to the animals here, their website includes a wish list of items and most are thrilled to have volunteers. While you must be 18 years of age to work in the shelters, they offer a helpful list of things teen volunteers can do to help.
  • New Beginnings: This local organization has spent the last 30 years working to stop Domestic Violence in our community. The provide emergency shelter as well as transitional housing and community support groups to families broken by abuse. An excellent aid agency in our area.
  • Get Fit with Fido: The Seattle Animal Shelter’s volunteer program to get shelter dogs out for a run. Who needs a gym membership?
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