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Last month, I shared several seemingly easy ways to give back to the community with your grandkids. I received tons of positive feedback from my fellow Devoted Grandmas and wanted to expand upon this idea for the month of Thanksgiving. While you can (and should!) do many of the things I previously mentioned, I wanted to add more Thanksgiving-specific community service ideas, beginning with:
1. Thanksgiving baskets
What better way to begin the month than by creating and donating a basket full of Thanksgiving goodies to a family in need? Let the grandkids pick out non-perishable items at the store and decorate the basket. This gesture may seem small, but it will be anything but to the recipient(s).
2. Warmth drive
I know I already mentioned this one, but it is so easy to do and can literally save a life! Collect gently used coats, scarves, hats, and mittens to donate to local shelters. To do this, put out a message on Facebook or your church, or scour the racks of your local thrift store – or all of the above! Include the grandkids by asking them to help sort and pack the items.
3. Community clean-up
Grab some gloves and bags, and pick up litter in a local park or neighborhood! (Remember to pack gloves and remind your grands not to touch anything sharp.) Doing this teaches grandkids about taking care of the environment and their community.
4. Bake or make for charity
Whip up some delicious treats and host a bake sale, or set up a booth at a local craft fair. (Many churches host vendor fairs during the holiday season!) The grandkids can help with baking and decorating or the crafting (should you choose that route!) and then donate the proceeds to a chosen charity.
5. Adopt a soldier
Send care packages to soldiers overseas and let your grandkids choose items, and write letters or draw pictures to include. Even if you don’t personally know anyone serving overseas, you can find one via organizations like Operation Gratitude and The Hugs Project.
6. Animal shelter donations
Collect old blankets, toys, and pet food for local animal shelters. A visit to donate them can also turn into an educational trip about caring for animals! (While there, you can also ask about volunteer opportunities, a la dog walking and fostering.
7. Craft for a cause
Create handmade crafts like knitted hats or blankets and donate them to hospitals, shelters, or orphanages. If you aren’t sure what is most needed, reach out to the hospital or organization you choose – they will be happy to point you in the right direction.
8. Random acts of kindness day
Dedicate a day to perform various acts of kindness around town – pay for someone’s coffee, leave uplifting notes on cars, or hand out flowers. Trust me: There is no better way to teach your grandbabies about the joy of giving!
9. Donate books
Clean your bookshelves and donate gently used books to schools, libraries, or community centers. Let the grandkids pick out some of their old favorites to give away, and explain to them that it may be older to them but is exciting and new for the recipient.
10. Create a gratitude tree
Set up a tree in a public space, like a local library or community center, where people can pin notes sharing what they’re thankful for. Encourage community members to read and add their notes. If you want to do this on a smaller scale, you can even set up one in your home.
I hope these opportunities teach your grandchild to be generous and giving and also give the two of you some time to bond. Is there anything better than helping others? Yes, there is – Helping others with your grandchild by your side!