November marks the beginning of the season of giving. No one is too young to learn the importance of helping others. This holiday season, take your family out to assist those in need, all the while imparting habits and compassion to last a lifetime. There are family-friendly activities and organizations across Arizona for you and your loved ones to get involved with, so here are a few ideas to get you started!
1. Donate to or volunteer at a local food bank
According to the most recent U.S. Census data, 1 in 5 Arizonans do not have money to buy enough food for their families at some point during the year. Over 1 million Arizona residents are food insecure, and our state has the fifth highest rate of childhood food insecurity in the nation. This is an issue that families face year-round, and especially during the holidays.
Donating to a food bank or volunteering your time can help reduce this number and help ensure families have enough food for the holidays. If you’re donating or volunteering over the next few months, remember the holidays aren’t the only time your community needs a helping hand. Use this holiday season to start a tradition of giving all year long.
By involving your entire family in giving back when it comes to food, you are not only helping your neighbors in need. Lending a hand at a food bank can teach your children more about their local food system and instill a sense of understanding, compassion and care toward others in their community.
Visit the Association of Arizona Food Banks to find your local food bank and learn more about volunteer opportunities across the state.
2. Give New or Gently Used Clothing to a Drive
Many families are in need of clothing. The organization Dress for Success says the clothing donations they receive instill confidence in those who receive their clothes, and helps them make changes in their life. Donating clothes also helps the environment, and can help keep you and your family organized. Phoenix Rescue Mission, Sojourner Donation Center, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona are just some of the many Arizona organizations accepting donations year-round.
3. Help Older Arizonans
According to the Legacy Project, allowing children to visit nursing homes has immense benefits. It can brighten the day of the elderly and give them something to look forward to, and it teaches children to value and understand all members of the community. This experience can help your children learn how to interact with people who are different from themselves. Contact your local nursing home or senior care center to set up a time to visit.
4. Get Creative
Get your family together and come up with a new way to give back! The time spent brainstorming allows you to spend time with your family, encourage creativity, and help others. A young girl in Payson started selling the peaches grown in her backyard at local farmers market, and donates the proceeds from her produce to her school and local organizations. When children start their own project, it teaches responsibility and gives them a stronger personal connection to their community.
Volunteering and donating are great ways to give back this holiday season. However, it’s important to remember that giving shouldn’t be reserved just for the holidays. There is no shortage of people who need a helping hand every day. Giving back year-round can diminish the prominence of these issues and turn these relief efforts from reactive to proactive.