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For Parents // Help Your Community
There are many ways that you and your children can help less fortunate children and families in your community! Below are a few ideas, but you can always contact your local shelter, food bank, or other charity to ask what their specific needs are. Remember that shelters are a family's temporary home and sometimes have confidential locations, so you might not be able to visit the site directly to drop off your donation. It is still very much needed and appreciated!
Collections of nonperishable food for your local food bank are an easy way to help your children help others. Ask them to pick out one or two items when you go to the grocery store, and then donate your collection at the end of the month.
Toys and Clothes
Clean and gently used toys, clothes, school supplies, and shoes are always needed at family shelters, as well as new children's-sized socks and underwear. If they are unable to use the donated goods at the shelter you contact, be sure to ask if they know of any other organization that could use your donation.
The Gift of Giving
Does your child have a birthday or bar/bat mitzvah coming soon? This is a great opportunity to talk with your child about the meaning of giving and ask them to donate some of their presents to your local family shelter, or ask for donations or gift cards to local stores in lieu of gifts.
Supply drives are a great way to provide a shelter with the items they need, and easy to organize around the holidays. Backpacks and shoes at the beginning of the school year, costumes and candy at Halloween, coats and gifts for the winter holidays, and Valentine's card kits in February are just a few ideas. A simple phone call to your local shelter provider will help you figure out what's most needed in your community.
Classroom or school-wide fundraisers can provide the much-needed funds for programs to purchase the day-to-day items needed to serve homeless children. PTAs and other parenting organizations can be a great resource for fundraising ideas and volunteers.