Today, I have a little story that I hope will inspire you.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl with a very big heart. She loved everyone and always enjoyed helping others. One day close to Christmastime, her mommy and daddy told her about a very important organization that helped make sure every little boy and little girl had a great Christmas. She wanted to help. So, her mommy and daddy helped her count her money and took her to a store. There she found the most beautiful Sleeping Beauty doll and knew that would make another little girls very happy. She bought that doll and her mommy and daddy drove her to a big cardboard box labeled "Toys for Tots," and she dropped that pretty doll in it. She was smiling the entire time and talking constantly about that little girl "who we didn't even know" that was going to get that doll for Christmas. It is a memory that has stuck with her for over a year now and one that I hope becomes a yearly habit for the little girl.
My little girl was 3 the first year we took her shopping and through simple explanations was able to grasp what she was shopping for. She loved the experience and my husband and I were very, very proud of the size of her heart.
I took the girls shopping again this year and they were excited to pick out toys. Lizzie understood what we were shopping for, although AJ is still a bit too young to understand. We picked out four gifts, one from each person in our family.
We picked out a princess wand, a tea set, Duplos and a football. The next step was donating them. I drove the girls over to our bank and we walked in and found a box overflowing with toys. It was wonderful to see! We dropped the toys off and talked all the way home about the happy little boys and girls who would be getting some pretty cool toys under their tree.
I learned a very valuable lesson during this process as well. Never ever underestimate the power of a little kids heart. They understand far more than we give them credit for.
Unfortunately, the deadline has already passed for Toys for Tots donations, but if you are interested in your kids having this experience, you can start shopping next November.
Toys for Tots is not the only way you can teach your children about giving. Here are some ideas for giving all year long.
- Check with your local food shelf. They will accept donations all year long. Take your children grocery shopping for the food shelf then drop off the items.
- Your church is also a great resource. Donations and gifts of time are always welcome.
- Check with your local Ronald McDonald House. Oftentimes they need and will accept donations of household goods and personal care items.
- Next Christmas, choose an angel from the Salvation Army Angel Tree. Help your child shop for their angel. Or volunteer together as a family to ring the bell at the Salvation Army kettles.
Make an effort to give back over the holidays and all year long. The rewards are amazing!
Do you volunteer or give to charity as a family? I would love to hear your experiences!