Sunday, March 13, 2011

Volunteer Together

Volunteering together is a very humbling and bonding experience. We have done this off and on over the years in different combinations - as a family, as a couple or just one on one with the kids - and each time has been just as fulfilling. There are a lot of opportunities out there and it really helps you realize how incredibly blessed you are in your life.

One of my kids' fondest Christmas memories is back when they were about 8 and 11 years old. We got on with the group "Trees for Tots": they are the ones who put the Christmas trees out, hung with tags with a name and age of a child on it. Our job was to go "shopping" as it were. We were in a warehouse full of toys, clothes and essentials people had donated. We would get a family, with all of the names and ages of the children and go pick out things for them. We would  then wrap up the gifts and put them in a box to be delivered. We got to make Christmas boxes for several families that night.

Jess recently had to get community service hours for her HS culminating project. I bummed along for the ride and we really enjoyed the time together. We started out canning carrots at the local cannery for the food bank. We spent three hours drying and labeling carrot cans. The next project was actually working at the food bank. 

There are always things that your family can do together to help if you cannot physically be there as well. When Katrina hit several years ago, we obviously couldn't be there to help the people of New Orleans, just as we cannot all rush onto a plane to Japan and help the people pick up their lives there. What we did do was have a multi-family garage sale and all proceeds were donated to a relief fund. When people realize what you are trying to do they are more likely to stop by and see what you have and not dicker on the sticker. It's everyone pulling together trying to do some good, even in a small way. We were able to raise a couple hundred dollars to help someone else get back on their feet.

Be inventive in ways to serve those around  you. When you get lost in serving others your life becomes much more enriched and your family will be stronger and better for it. It will also help you and your children see the many blessing you truly have in your lives.

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