As a homeschool family, we are very aware that we are living an extraordinary life. We are also very aware that we are responsible for teaching our children to have a servant’s heart when it comes to giving and serving those in our communities and around the world who need help and support to reach their potential. One of the ways we help our children appreciate and understand the world around us is by teaching them to be generous with what we have and can give. Giving back to the people in need around us is one of the most obvious and helpful ways to teach our children to have a grateful, generous heart.
We have a list of ways your family and homeschool groups can give back both during the holiday season and throughout the year! This list is not complete, as there are thousands of ways for your family to give to those around you. We may also add to this list as we find ideas.
Giving to those in your circle:
+ Anonymously give to those you know are in need – by giving gifts or gift cards.
+ Set up a Facebook Group to support someone in your circle going through a rough time – Medical, financial, or relational. Do so respectfully and only with their permission.
+ Create a meal train for a family facing an overwhelming circumstance.
Serving the Foster Families in Your Community:
(These will need to be done through the Children’s Services in your community. Contact them first!)
+ Collect coats for the kids in care.
+ Host a drive to collect food for Thanksgiving or Christmas meals.
+ Donate backpacks full of school supplies at back-to-school time.
+ Collect school supplies to restock the kids for the new year.
+ Provide a family with Christmas or birthday presents for their foster children.
+ Become a family certified to provide respite care for foster children.
Serving the Disadvantaged in Your Community:
+ Work with an organization in your community to collect food for a food bank.
+ Hold a fundraiser for an organization like Feeding America with your homeschool group.
+ Make blankets for Project Linus.
+ Work with an organization in your community to provide Christmas meals or presents for a family.
+ Create care packs to give to the homeless. (Some thoughts and an article with much more detail here.)
+ Serve a meal at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
+ Find a need in a homeless shelter and work with your homeschool group to fill that need.
+ Hold a sock drive for your local homeless shelter.
Serving the Single Parent Families in your community:
+ Help a single parent financially purchase Christmas presents for his or her children.
+ Care for a single parent’s children so he or she can have time to shop for Christmas presents.
+ Help a child of a single parent purchase a gift for his or her parent.
+ Work with your homeschool group to fund a single parent’s groceries for a month.
+ Create a pampering gift basket for a newly single parent to help pick them up during a time of rough transition.
+ Cover a bill for a month or two if you know a single parent is struggling.
+ Commit to help a single parent with household maintenance every couple months. Things like raking leaves, weeding flowerbeds, and hanging Christmas lights are hard to do on your own, especially with kids running around.
+ Purchase a membership to a museum, park, play place, or other attraction so the parent can spend time just having fun with their child/ren.
+ Let a single parent use your address to ship Christmas or birthday presents purchased online, then help with the delivery logistics.
Serving the First Responders in your community:
+ Take cases of bottled water or sports drinks to your local fire department or police station.
+ Create “Thank You” cards as a group and deliver them to your local fire department or police station.
+ Collect gift cards to restaurants for your local responders. (Check with the office first to make sure they can receive them!)
+ Find out if there is an equipment need for the first responders in your community (vests, first aid kits, K-9 vests, etc.) and organize a fundraiser to meet the needs.
+ Set up a monthly treat or food delivery from a local restaurant or bakery to a first responder’s station. (Baked cookies are a fun idea…but may not feel safe. Food from a restaurant or bakery is greatly appreciated!)
Serving the hospitalized children in your community:
+ Contact the children’s hospitals near you to find out what the playrooms need, then work with your group to fill that need.
+ Create activity bags and donate them to the children’s wing of your nearest hospital.
+ Create cards to send through the organization Cards for Hospitalized Kids.
+ Check with the Child Life Specialists in your local children’s hospital and find out what you can do to help with their supplies or equipment needs. Hold a fundraiser or work with your group to fill the needs.
Serving the elderly in your community:
+ Sing Christmas Carols at a nursing home.
+ Create care boxes or bags with socks, puzzle game books, small toiletries, a card, and art from your children. Check with social services, your church, or a nursing home to find places to distribute them.
+ Schedule a game day with your homeschool group at a nursing home.
+ Collect warm socks for nursing home residents.
+ Create holiday art for a nursing home.
+ Get in touch with your local social services department and ask what needs they are seeing in the community. Work as a family or with your homeschool group to meet one of the needs.
+ Ask a church for a list of needs for the elderly in the congregation. Host a drive to meet their needs with your homeschool group.
+ Hold a fundraiser for Meals on Wheels with your homeschool group.
+ Call your local nursing home and ask about meal times. Find out if your family can help serve meals.
+ Help with transportation for doctor appointments or groceries.
Serving Our Military and Their Families:
+ Host a fundraiser to collect gift cards for military spouses.
+ Pack a care package for a service member overseas. (One note: Read this from AnySoldier.com about care packages for military members. Make sure you’re actually doing something helpful!)
+ If you’re close to a military base, find out if there is an organization supporting the families of the deployed from that base. Volunteer to offer childcare or help with shopping for the military spouses.
+ Hold a fundraiser for the National Military Family Association, an organization that supports and advocates for military families.
Serving People in Need in Our Country:
+ Donate a gift through Angel Tree for a child who has a parent in prison.
+ Collect toys for Toys for Tots.
+ Donate coats or hold a fundraiser for One Warm Coat as a family or homeschool group.
+ Join iCouldBe to mentor at-risk youth around the U.S.
Serving People in Need Around the World:
+ Pack a box for Operation Christmas Child.
+ Shop from a catalog (Like this one from World Vision) to provide food, clothing, medicines, or other necessities to needy people through trustworthy organizations.
+ Host a fundraiser to sponsor a child for a year through one of the organizations providing local support for children in need.
Some thoughts on giving:
1. Make sure that your generosity is actually helpful! We are always going to see the world from our perspective, but what we can relate to may not be what someone in a different situation would find helpful. It would never occur to me that adding soap to a kit for a homeless person could be harmful, but to them it could make any food I included taste terrible. I know my kitchen is super clean, and I’m always careful when I cook to wash my hands, but a police officer hasn’t been in my kitchen and doesn’t know that or know that the cookies I make would be safe and delicious. Simply spend a few minutes making sure that you are going to be involving your family in something that is helpful to everyone involved.
2. The flip side of making sure your generosity is helpful, it to make sure it is also not hurtful. Always ask the people already helping and involved in an issue before you do anything that involves giving to someone that is not able to support themselves. You may think you are helping but end up actually hurting the people you are involving.
3. In many instances, cash is going to be a bigger help than any actual goods would be. Cash can be wired where it needs to go, it doesn’t involve shipping costs, and those already helping can spend it in ways that are much more helpful than giving goods. Holding fundraisers make a big difference! However, always check into the charity or non-profit you are raising funds for. There are several organizations in the US that operate as charity watchdogs, and you can research your charities there.
4. This list is meant to inspire, not endorse. The author has worked with some of the charities listed, but is receiving no compensation for these listings. Please always research a charity to make sure you are comfortable donating before trusting them!
We want to learn about what your family does to give back! Tell us in the comments below!
By the way, I want to stay in touch with you! Fill out the form below, and join the This Crazy Homeschool Life family so I can keep in touch, and send you lots of fun stuff! Thanks!
FREE Planning Pages
Join the newsletter and receive your FREE Printable Year-At-A-Glance Planning Pages!
Join our FREE newsletter!
Join the This Crazy Homeschool Life blog family to get updates, free printables, and more!