As the holiday season approaches, many of us begin to count our many blessings and consider both our good fortunes and the difficulties many families around us may face.
This time of year is a common time for families to become involved in charitable volunteering and giving, and for good reason. Selfless acts and volunteerism can make for great family building activities and provide wonderful avenues for striking up¬† important conversations within families.¬†
Volunteering can be especially helpful for military families who have recently PCSed to a new base and are missing family and those who have a loved one deployed, as it’s a yearly tradition that can be done anywhere and with or without every member of the family.¬† Also, according to the experts, charitable giving can help children feel empowered in uncertain times, even when frequently hearing about frightening events. The value of providing that for a military child cannot be overstated. Additionally, it helps children learn that it happiness is not dependent on what they may or may not have, and emphasizes the importance of family values, love and support.
Where to start?
On of the easiest tasks you can do as a family is clean out your children’s unwanted and unneeded toys and donating them. This can make another family’s holiday nicer and can also help you lighten up your personal household load.
Some of our favorite military-centered charities that can involve kids’ volunteerism
Set a budget and get matched with a local needy military family.
This well-known annual program run by the Marine Corps Local conducts local campaigns¬† every year in over 700 communities across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.¬† If you go to their website, it’s easy to donate, request assistance, or find local information. Choosing toys for other children is a wonderful way to help your own family understand and relate to charitable giving.
Although OpGrat has already shipped the majority of their holiday packages to ensure they make it to service members in time for the holidays, there are still many ways the whole family can get involved to help their worth while campaigns. Operation Gratitude sends care packages, letters and other items to those deployed in hostile regions, to children left behind and to Veterans, First Responders, Wounded Warriors and their Care Givers. Visit their website to see the many ways families can get involved.
If you live anywhere near a military base, chances are there is a USO presence at your doorstep. Since they sponsor so many worthwhile programs on the national and local levels, there are always many ways to get a family involved, especially around the holidays. Check out your local chapter, and the national website for more information.