1. Create Greeting Cards
Make greeting cards to deliver to ill children in need of some cheering up. Two websites, Make a Child Smile and Hugs and Hope, provide photos and information about sick children who are hoping for some happy mail. Families can make a card together for one of the children. You can also enclose something lightweight with the card, such as stickers, coloring sheets, a postcard or a bookmark.
2. Make A Blanket
Families can make a blanket for a child in need of comfort. Create a simple, no-sew fleece blanket (anyone can do it!) and then donate through Binky Patrol or your local chapter of Project Linus. Watch a video about Project Linus with your children so they will understand the impact these blankets can have in kids’ lives.
3. Assemble Birthday Bags
Create birthday gift bags for children living in poverty. Invite families over and ask each guest to bring small, new toys for children ages 3-12. Then enjoy assembling the gift bags, placing several items in each. Deliver them to a nearby shelter or food shelf. For more information, visit Cheerful Givers.
4. Pick Up Litter
Clean up a park, shoreline, mountain, river, beach or wilderness area. Then take digital photos of what you’ve picked up. (If you can’t access a camera, this requirement can be waived.) Together have your family write an essay about your experience and send with your digital photo, your names, age(s) and address to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your essay will be published on the website, your children’s names will appear in the Registry of Apprentice Ecologists, and you will be awarded an official certificate. For tips on conducting the cleanup and writing the story, and to see the efforts of other “apprentice ecologists,” visit the Wilderness Project.
5. Take a Volunteer Vacation
Ready for a deeper commitment? Global Citizens Network sends short-term teams of volunteers to communities in other cultures where participants immerse themselves in the daily life of the community. Each volunteer team is partnered with a local grassroots organization active in meeting local needs.
7. Volunteer Your Skills
Register at catchafire.org and volunteer your skills to help a non-profit organization and social cause you’re most passionate about.
8. Give a Loan To a Kiva Borrower
Kiva lenders combat poverty daily by making small loans to borrowers around the world. Often only a relatively small amount of money stands in the way of Kiva borrowers and their dreams. Whether it’s a Kenyan farmer who needs $500 in order to double her grain production, or a young Bolivian woman who lacks the $1,500 tuition for nursing school, Kiva lenders provide a hand up to these and countless other borrowers.
9. Write A Family Letter To A Soldier
It will only take a few minutes, and it will bring joy to men and women who are far from home. Send your message today.
10. Adopt a Pet From a Local Shelter
Skip out on the fancy breeders and open your home to a homeless pet.
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