I’ve worked directly with volunteers for nearly ten years within various organizations in St. Louis. One of the most frequent questions I get asked is, “How can I get my kids involved?” Or, “Can we volunteer as a family?”
I love knowing parents want to get their littles started in philanthropic endeavors, and there are many deserving organizations to give time and money to around St. Louis. The season of giving is upon us, and for 2020 it’s even more important than ever before.
Here are some quick tips on finding the right fit for your family.
- Start with where you want to focus your efforts as a family – do you want to help the homeless, do you want to help with families facing food insecurity, or possibly students getting a warm coat? Get your whole family together to make this decision. What interests your family or your child(ren)? St. Louis has nearly 13,000 nonprofits to choose from, and all are very worthwhile causes.
- Once you’ve identified where you want to give your time, check the organization’s website and Facebook pages for insight into their needs. Also, check to see if there is an age limit for volunteers – more than likely, there is, so be mindful that you might have to redirect how you contribute if you’re unable to give time.
- Meet your children at their level. For example, if you’re interested in getting coats for school-aged children, explain why you’re getting coats. It might be hard for them to understand entirely what is going on, but the seed is planted for them to ponder life outside their home.
- Make it fun for them. To keep on the coat trend, have them pick out the colors or coats they want to give to another child in need. If you’re donating food, have them pick out items they would like to eat, their favorite cereal or snack they would love for another family to eat as well. Perhaps you have a favorite family meal, pick out all the items that go into that meal to donate to a food pantry.
- Check when the organization takes donations – now, with COVID-19, this is especially important. You might only have specific days to donate, or you might have to make an appointment.
A quick google search can bring up numerous organizations and their causes as well as a possible list of items they need most, and the best way to donate. Due to COVID, many families are struggling this year and will probably well into 2021. Take time to give, if you’re able, this holiday season. It’s very much needed in the St. Louis community.