How to Volunteer as a Family

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I’m labeling myself as one of those “seasonal” volunteers…and trying not to be. We all deal with that on a yearly basis, right?  We know how important it is to volunteer and to give back to the community, but then life happens and we find ourselves only being giving to others during the holiday season because that is what our schedule allows.  Sounds all too familiar, right?  Well, sad to say…it happened again to me this year.  (I’ve got to stop this vicious cycle!!!)  My goal for the new year, and the remainder of this year?  To up our game of being able to volunteer as a family.

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It CAN be difficult to find locations that will allow children to volunteer, but not impossible.  There are always ways to get involved and to have your children get involved too.  It teaches them so much and instead of constantly lecturing them on how important it is to give back, you show them.  I’m a hand-on-learning and teaching kinda gal, how bout you?

So, what ways can a family volunteer?

  1.  Check out local churches and shelters.  They may not allow children to help volunteer at serving meals, etc., but if not, then ask if they need help with donations and have your family start a coat drive or a blanket drive, etc.
  2. Animal shelters always seem to be in need of volunteers.  Either there, showing the animals some love or by donating food/litter/toys. We are actually fosters are our local shelter and take cats home here and there to give them time away from the shelter and to have human interaction.  I think at last count, we have fostered over 18 cats!!!!!  and fostering works so great for us!   Why?  Well, none of us agree on the type of cat that we want….My husband wants a large cat that is a lap buddy, my girls each want a cat that will forever remain a kitten that they can lug around and dress up in clothes (truth!) and me?  I want a hairless cat that I can have sitting on my shoulder and I can just walk around the house with it being my buddy.  So, see?  All totally different wants but we compromised and found a way to make everyone happy.  (well, no hairless cats yet…but fingers crossed!!)
  3. Give gift bags.  This is another great way that my family was able to get involved.  We made an assembly line and we made up PB & J sandwiches, chips and water bottles and put all items in a brown bag.  We then drove around town, located those in need, and offered.  In one day alone, we handed out over 50 gift bags to those who were hungry or needed food for later on.  We made certain to pack items that wouldn’t spoil and would last for quite some time if needed.  It was amazing to be able to help in that capacity.
  4. Donate your time at local festivals.  My daughter and I found a way to be involved with an art gallery here and town and we donated our time to run the Welcome booth were we handed out cookies and apple cider.  and by handing out…I mean, one for them, one for us kinda thing. 😉  We may have eaten our fair show of cookies, but it was so awesome to be able to see and interact with local artists and to have our daughter exposed to that.   The cookies were just a bonus.
  5. Get active in your local school!  This is a biggie for our family.  We help out when we can and children are usually always welcome to help because it’s based in a school! 🙂  We help clean up after the carnival, we donate our time and efforts to help fundraise for the PTA…it’s all very enjoyable and extra bonus?  Keeps us involved and in the know of what is going on as well!

Related Post:  10 Gifts to Shock and Amaze for Christmas

There are so many ways to volunteer as a family.  Just remember:  Volunteering doesn’t mean that you have to physically be there on location.  Offer to take something home and work on it, or make calls for them, or hand out flyers, etc.  True volunteering comes in all forms with the bottom line being that you are helping them by donating your time to whatever they feel that they need help with.  Win/win, right?

So, are you a “seasonal” volunteer like me?  or would you like to become a little bit more well-rounded?


69 thoughts on “How to Volunteer as a Family

  1. Deirdre says:

    Volunteering is so important. I love the gift basket idea. I know that when i was in a tough spot in life, something just like that made my whole month.

  2. Joanna says:

    I probably don’t do enough volunteering. I used to buy groceries for a homeless woman from time to time, as a reminder of my grandmother, after she died. But then I moved and didn’t really do much after that.

  3. Karolina says:

    It’s the season for sharing, right? As good a time as any to start thinking about giving back and sharing with those less fortunate in life – I’m all for it.

  4. Michelle Leslie says:

    I love your ideas Thena, although I have to be honest I’mm a bit of a seasonal volunteer too. A friend of mine used to own a catering company and we would often take the left overs to the townships to hand out to the less fortunate, but since she sold the company we haven’t done to much other than donate old cloths. Quite sad actually

  5. Nati says:

    these are all great ideas to volunteer! I admit I no longer volunteer in this country. In my home country there was no season to help others, because there is so much pverty and basic needs unsatisfied. Since little, working at the church with my parents and later working in developement projects in Favelas as a student were just natural things to do, all year round. Now I live in Switzerland, and I must say solidarity is not what reigns here.
    Nati recently posted…Makeup │ Look in Camel and Yellow using Anastasia Beverly Hills palettes [Monday Shadow Challenge]My Profile

  6. Anne says:

    We volunteer every Thanksgiving at an event that feeds thousands of people a wonderful Thanksgiving meal who might not otherwise get one. It is a great experience for all of us and a reminder to be thankful for what we have. Volunteering together creates memories too!


  7. Bea says:

    These are some great tips for Volunteering & they actually work worldwide. Though I don’t have kids yet but being an expat we find similarities to these tips every time we go to a different country 🙂

  8. Amy Long says:

    Yes! I absolutely love going to the ASPCA to walk the puppies and pet the kitties. This is a great option for the family…. But BEWARE…. you may end up leaving with an extra family member LOL!!!

  9. Emily Terrell says:

    This year, we slipped as a family. We normally try to do the Samaritans purse Christmas Child. Sadly, we didn’t have much money and I waited too long to find a box and they had none. It was a way to get my kids involved with picking items and sharing with another child around the world.
    Emily Terrell recently posted…Puss on BootsMy Profile

  10. Cynthia says:

    I see nothing wrong with volunteer once a year, especially during the holidays is when people expect a little extra. Love the idea of the gift bags! Some people around here get toiletries and give them to homeless people, I know for women is especially important to have sanitary pads and such, no one ever thinks of that!

  11. Nicole Flint says:

    I love to volunteer during the holidays but I have been wanting to volunteer during the other times of the year as well.

  12. Taylor Smart says:

    we could never volunteer with my whole family because not everyone always wanted to do it! now both my sisters have families of their own me and my mother volunteer every xmas in a homeless shelter while they can still have a family xmas without us!

  13. Candy Rachelle says:

    Volunteer as a family is such a great and awesome idea. We really love helping other campaign or other people who are in needs. and you had an amazing idea here.

  14. Krysti says:

    This is such a lovely idea to do as a family. Perfect for this time of year and teaching important values and kindness towards others.

  15. Nina says:

    It’s incredibly important to teach your children the importance of volunteering. I love that you have tangible ways that the whole family can volunteer.

  16. Evelina says:

    Volunteer as a family such a great idea and can be one of beautiful family traditions. Your post made me realise that I should get into volunteering myself. Thank you for inspiring!

  17. Elizabeth O says:

    This is such an awesome idea. Volunteer as a family is so important and knowing that you volunteer as a family is so awesome. You all are so inspiring.

  18. Angela Cardamone @marathonsandmotivation.com says:

    This is a great post! I love having my entire family volunteer at special events, I will keep your tips in mind!!

  19. Gabrielle Reese says:

    I lovee all of these ideas!! My college requires 20 hours of community service pers semester. At first I didn’t like it, but I’ve grown to love it. I volunteer as English teacher to foreigners trying to learn English and also at an animal shelter. It’s something I do with my boyfriend, but doing it with the whole family is a great idea! Thank you for your heart!

  20. Jagriti Roy says:

    Loved the way you defined many ways to volunteer as a family in various social works. It is nicer to engage your children in those works because it brings the sense of maturity in them from their early ages. From all of the above ideas I lived the way you have wanted to share some of your time for cats .. 😊 They are our real buddies..

  21. Monique Elise says:

    I love these ideas. And yes I am also guilty of being a seasonal volunteer. I think these are great tips to incorporate into our daily lives to give back year round. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Daria says:

    This is a very needed post. I love animals and always wanted to volunteer in a shelter. Now I work only part time, so definitely have time to do it

  23. Preet says:

    I love the idea of volunteering as a family. This will b a great example for kids to look upon. Also, volunteering gives an amazing feeling inside to give back to those in need!

  24. Kristiana Wajnblom says:

    I would say, technically I’m a seasonal volunteer but my husband and our group of friends make it a point to choose one charity each year as a group to volunteer at when we can all coordinate our schedules. And personally, my husband and I give donations to several charities throughout the year. I could definitely show face more though, and that’s something we are trying to work on.

  25. Sarah Ann says:

    Wonderful range of ideas to get the whole family involved in volunteering., We like to get involved with our local church sales and baking events, can get everyone involved.

  26. Beola Lawal says:

    It’s true people hardly meet up with their volunteering goals these days, but my family has been serious about it this year. Thanks for sharing all these nice tips too!

  27. maritza baez says:

    i love the face that there are so many activities a whole family or adopted family/group of friends can do together. it is important to be able to give back to one’s community. these are some wonderful suggestions!

  28. Anna says:

    I absolutely love the idea of getting active in a local school! I think it is a great way to give back to the community as well as show your little ones in the family what it means. Keep up the writing. I enjoyed it 🙂

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