10 Summer Volunteer & Charity Ideas: Get your kids involved this summer!
By Shara Lawrence-Weiss: Owner of Mommy Perks, mother of four.
My parents taught their four daughters to volunteer and help others. We volunteered year-round at various locations or helped those in need through our church. It’s easy to find volunteer opportunities during the winter time – everyone promotes their charity group during the holiday season! However, there are plenty of charitable opportunities to be found during the summer months, also.
Here are ten ideas:
Most homeless shelters (especially those in hot locations like Phoenix, Arizona) need water bottles during the summer months. Consider helping your children collect water bottles to donate. Ask your neighbors, co-workers, church friends, family, etc. Even if they donate just a few bottles each the count will add up quickly.
2. Walk a mile in their shoes
Our local shelters are always looking for shoe donations – for moms, dads, seniors and kids. Run a donation drive for shoes and get your kids involved. We often take for granted just how nice it is to have a decent pair of shoes; a shoe drive will give your kiddos a better understanding of the simple blessings in life.
3. Town fundraisers
Does your town host summer fundraisers? Our small town hosts numerous fundraisers every summer to benefit the fire fighters, our public school, the hiking trail maintenance association and more. We always need volunteers to help out. Check your local news website for volunteer opportunities or ask a local church if they have leads.
Do you have a pet shelter or humane society near by? Your children might enjoy volunteering with a few furry friends. Contact the pet shelter and ask if they welcome shelter volunteers or volunteer dog walkers. The humane society offers volunteer opportunities at events, in the emergency shelter, at their care center and more. They can also put you in touch with pet owners who need assistance.
5. Snail Mail at your service
Have your kids and their friends (if their parents agree) write cards for shut-ins. Many shut-ins are lonely and would love to receive a nice colorful card. This costs you nothing but a little time and a stamp. Search online for a legitimate charity website that puts you in contact with shut-ins.
6. Start your own mock charity
Here’s a fun idea: have your kids come up with a mock charity that they would start if they had the means and know-how. What charity would they launch? What would they name it? Who would they help? Why? Have them write down their ideas (or you help them with this if they are not yet writing) and save the papers inside a hope chest or memory box. Later in life, they’ll have fun looking back and reading about their ideas!
Place a container on your counter or windowsill for pennies and change. Decide as a family what charity to support. During the summer have everyone drop their change into the container and at the end of the summer break donate to your charity of choosing.
8. Highway helpers (for older kids)
Contact your local transportation department and ask to be put in touch with organizations that pick up trash. Jump in with another group of volunteers and spend the day helping along the highway. With so many program cutbacks these days, highways are counting more and more on personal volunteers.
9. Soups up!
No doubt you have a soup kitchen in your area. If you do, consider volunteering with your children serving meals to the homeless/low income. These locations have an abundance of volunteers during the holiday months but after that, their volunteer rates plummet. Charity can be a year-round endeavor. It need not be saved up and dispensed only during the Christmas season.
10. Boxtops and Campbells Soup labels
Be sure to continue collecting these items during the summer time for your local school. When school starts back up, have your child drop the boxtops or labels to the office. Be sure to explain the purpose: these items help the school earn money which can then be used to buy things that the school needs.
Shara Lawrence-Weiss is the owner of Mommy Perks, Kids Perks, Personal Child Stories and Early Childhood News & Resources. She runs her businesses from home and is actively involved in local charity work helping children and seniors. She is the mother of four and the wife of one.