Don’t know what to do with all of your children’s beautiful art work? Do the grandkids keep sending you masterpieces and you are running out of fridge space? Please consider sending it to be repurposed in our new Kids in Service Recycled Art Program. We will be taking the art and transforming it into cards for the homeless, cards for the military, Meals on Wheels placemats, cards for hospice patients and so much more.
Please collect their masterpieces and pass them on to Kids in Service for our members to repurpose. You can mail your recycled art to us at:
For the past 10 years, my children have traded their Halloween Candy for a $10-$12 toy of their choice. I know what you are thinking, “You take ALL of their candy, you are so cruel!” To be clear I don’t TAKE anything, it is a TRADE that they agree to make. I also allow them to eat some candy on Halloween and save 5 pieces for consumption the week after Halloween. This has worked well for us and their dentist approves!
The candy the kids trade in is sent to work with my husband. His employees LOVE the variety and it is usually all gone in 1-2 days!
Last year, while packing Thanksgiving food baskets at our local food bank, I was surprised to see that Halloween candy was one of the items included. “We like to put in a little fun for the kids,” the organizer told me. I knew right then that next years Halloween candy would go to the food bank for the Thanksgiving baskets.
There are many great places to donate Halloween Candy, a quick internet search will bring up many options in your area. I am asking you to consider your local food bank, call them and see if they would like a donation for their Thanksgiving baskets. Happy Halloween!!
The Holiday Cards for our Military Challenge is a non-profit from NH that collects and sends holiday greetings to our deployed military. They have collected and sent out almost 500,000 cards since the project began!
This is a wonderful project for you and your family to work on together. Write out a holiday card (or make your own) and thank a warrior for their service to our country and wish them a happy holiday. Send your completed holiday cards to Holiday Cards for our Military Challenge, PO Box 103 Hollis, NH 03049.
Recently our Kids in Service NH group came together to make Homeless Bags and Dignity Bags for a local homeless shelter. All of the bags included necessary items to help with hygiene and comfort. The children made cards with uplifting messages and drawings for each bag so that the recipient would know that they are special.
The Dignity Bags that we packed (I did this project with older children) were so appreciated. I spoke with one woman who said that being homeless is tough enough but being a homeless woman is really challenging. Homeless shelters do not always have feminine products available. These are not items that are donated often and there is such a demand for them.
Making bags for the homeless is one of my favorite service projects to do with a group. We were able to make 32 bags when we did this project. Each family was in charge of bringing a group of items (32 granola bars etc.) and we split up the more expensive items. Below you will find some suggestions for items for your bags. Many of these items can be collected on hotel stays (shampoo, soap, lotion etc.). You need not include all of the items below, these are just some ideas.
Item Ideas for a Homeless Bag
large plastic bag (gallon size)
pair of socks
bar of soap (with a small plastic bag so they can store the used soap for future showers)
travel bottle of shampoo
toothbrush and toothpaste
granola or cereal bars
travel bottle of hand lotion
a sweet treat (be careful to include items that won’t melt if it is summer)
A Note or Drawing of Encouragement
Item Ideas for a Dignity Bag
All of the Items Above
razor and shaving cream
Things not to Include
Anything that Includes Alcohol (hand sanitizer, mouthwash, perfume etc.)
Anything that is expired or that will spoil quickly
Makayla Waters (age 12) and Lily Levesque (age 11) of Salem, NH spent one evening putting together dignity bags for homeless women in Lawrence, MA. They were inspired after reading an article called, The Homeless Period. Many homeless women have to choose between sanitary products and food each month with the little money that they have. These INCREDIBLE pre-teens decided to take action and put together dozens of bags during a weekend sleepover. Makayla and Lily, thank you so much for being such thoughtful and INCREDIBLE kids!!
Birthday’s come but once a year and are a great reason to celebrate another trip around the sun. Unfortunately for some, birthdays are an added expense that can not be afforded. With a few simple items and a shoebox, you can create a birthday box to bless someone in need with a grand celebration.
What do you need for a birthday box?
1 box of cake mix
1 tub of frosting
birthday candles (no matches)
1-2 decorations (balloons, banner, streamers and/or party hat etc.)
small unisex toys or favors (stickers, crayons, markers, toy ball, small LEGO etc.)
a shoebox or small plastic rectangular box
We donated the birthday boxes we made to our local food bank and they distributed them out to families in need. This is an easy project for all ages and can make a big difference in the life of a child. You could even make this a tradition to put birthday boxes together on your children’s birthday. Everyone deserves the chance to celebrate their birthday.
Meet Bella, a third grader from Kentucky who builds birthday boxes to ensure that the children in her school are all able to celebrate their birthdays! What an INCREDIBLE kid!!
“The Birthday Box is a “party in a box” that is anonymously delivered to children who may not otherwise have a celebration on their special day.”
May Day, celebrated on May 1st, is an ancient holiday that welcomes the change of seasons. In the Northern Hemisphere it marks the return of spring (it takes awhile for spring to get to the Northern United States) and often involves dances around a maypole, the crowning of a May Queen and the creating of May Baskets. This holiday is still celebrated around the world but it is mostly forgotten in the US. It is my hope that this will change.
May Baskets are my favorite part of May Day. For the past few years, the children and I have left May Day Baskets anonymously on the doorsteps of friends and family. These simple baskets are made out of construction paper and contain spring treasures that we collect (flowers, rocks, pinecones, shells etc.), homemade cards that say, “Happy May Day” and treats that we bake. The kids love ringing the doorbell and running away before being seen.
Contact your local SPCA and Humane Society to see if they have any projects that you and your family can participate in. Here are some suggestions from our local branch.
Host a Fundraiser–A lemonade stand is a great way for kids to raise money to support the animal shelters in your area. Our center will even allow families to sign up for a date and time to host the lemonade stand at the center. Other fundraiser ideas are bake sales, change drives or make and sell homemade dog treats and cat toys.
Make Blankets or Cat Toys--Many shelters are looking for 2x3ft fleece blankets for the dog cages. Children can easily make tie blankets following these directions (keep in mind that these dog blankets will be much smaller). Catnip socks are another easy project that kids can work on to deliver to the local shelter. Here are the directions for catnip socks. Here is a link to order catnip in bulk.
Organize a Food and Supply Drive–Most shelters have a wishlist of supplies that they are in need of. Work as a family to organize a pet food and supply drive. Make collection boxes and ask local businesses to put them out for you. Create fliers to hang up around town, write a letter to the editor in the newspaper and have parents announce the drive through email and social media.
Host a Birthday Party to Benefit the Shelter–Have your child help you to create an animal themed birthday party to celebrate their birthday. Instead of gifts, have each party guest bring a donation for the animal shelter. After the party, create a special moment for your child to deliver the donations to the shelter.
Volunteer Your Time--Many shelters have opportunities for families and older children to volunteer their time. Our shelter has family days once a month where children and a caregiver can sign up to volunteer. They also have programs for teens to volunteer weekly in the center. Check out your local shelter and see if there is a way that you and your family can donate your time.
What service projects can you recommend to fellow animal lovers?
(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon. 20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to LOVE Does. Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)
All of us want to find time in our busy lives for service projects. We know how important it is to teach our children the valuable lessons that go along with serving others (empathy, kindness, gratitude, courage, selflessness etc.) but unfortunately those well meaning service projects are the first thing cut off the to-do list when life gets too hectic.
Here are 10 QUICK service projects that you can do with your kids TODAY, with items you have around the house. All of them can be completed in under an hour. I hope that this list inspires to you start a service project TODAY and learn as a family the valuable lesson of serving others.
Project Dollar Store--This is a family favorite and a project we do at least once a year. A dollar may not seem like much but this simple project can make a big difference in someone’s life. Click HERE to learn more about this SECRET MISSION OF LOVE!
2. Project Appreciation--For this SWEET project you need to gather everyone in the kitchen and think of a community group that you would like to thank. Click HERE for more details about this MISSION OF APPREICATION.
3. Make Placemats for Meals on Wheels–This is a project for all ages (well anyone who can hold a crayon or paint brush). First, click on the Meals on Wheels website and contact your local Meals on Wheels. Ask them if you and your family could make placemats for their clients. We have done this and it is an easy and fun service project. Gather some thicker paper (we used card stock) and some art supplies. My Kids Community Service club has done this a few times and all of the children (ages 2 and up) colored happy pictures to make the seniors smile while they ate their lunch. I mailed in our placemats but Meals on Wheels is always looking for volunteers to help deliver the lunches (and kids are welcome to participate). If you homeschool, have younger kids or are looking for a summer project, contact your local Meals on Wheels about donating your time.
4. Make a Kindness Jar--This is the Kindness Jar that sits near our dining table. My children made it with our kids community service group last winter and it is always out as a constant reminder to think of others and BE KIND. Click HERE to learn how you and your family can make your own Kindness Jar. The post includes a FREE Printable of Kind Deeds to fill your jar with.
5. Collection for the Homeless–People who are homeless are always in need of gently used clothing (especially warm clothing in the cold winter months), new toiletries or toys that are in good shape. Give everyone in your family a bag or a box and challenge them to fill it with as many quality items as they can. Once you fill your bags or boxes drop them off at the local homeless shelter. This service project is not only helping people in need but it is also challenging the family to declutter. This is a win-win in my book!
6. Clean Up Your Neighborhood–Grab a few trash bags, some work gloves and head out in your neighborhood or to your local park. It always SHOCKS me how careless people are with their trash. My husband does a mini clean up of our street with the kids once a month because of all the trash that the passing cars leave behind. This is an easy and important service project for your community.
7. Make a Christmas Jar–This project can be done at ANY TIME of year. We started our third Christmas jar right after Christmas but our first jar was started only a month before the big day. Click HERE to learn about this WONDERFUL family project.
8. Write Letters to Soldiers-This project is so easy to do and younger kids can team up with older kids or parents to make this a family project. If you know someone in the military, consider making writing letters to them a regular activity. If you do not know someone in the military, consider writing letters and sending them through A Million Thanks. This site has drop off locations across the USA for letters and cards. Here is what one solider had to say about this wonderful organization:
“I want to say thank you for what you are doing for all of us, and especially for the men and women overseas that take comfort in knowing people like you are thinking about them.”
9. Project Sticky Note–This is such a fun and simple project. All you need are some sticky notes and writing tools. Write a lot of different uplifting messages on the sticky notes (“You are Special”, “You are Loved”, “You are Beautiful”, etc.). Now comes the fun part, put the sticky notes in places where you think people may need an uplifting message. We have hid them in library books, hung them on mirrors in public restrooms and put them on car windows on a dry day. You can have the kids hang them on school lockers or even hand them out to people who look like they may need a pick me up. My husband often leaves us sticky notes if he is going away on business. It always makes us smile to find the notes of love and encouragement. The key to this project is to make sure that you do not litter and that you are always respectful.
10. Write a Thank You Note--Have you thanked your parent or care giver lately? Have you thanked your teacher, your coach, bus driver or librarian for all they do for you? Did you recently receive a gift? EVERYONE loves mail! Bless one or more people in your life with a card or note thanking them for all they do to help and support you. This is a project for all ages, as the littles can draw and adults can scribe the note of thanks and gratitude. Make writing thank you notes a regular practice in your home. This simple activity will teach an important lesson in gratitude, respect and connection (not to mention it will help them practice their writing).
I stumbled upon the Christmas Jars book last year when I was searching for a holiday book to read. Little did I know that this small book would lead to a new and meaningful Holiday Tradition.
The Christmas Jars is a fictional book by Jason F. Wright and it has inspired a world-wide movement of hope, kindness and giving. In the story, one family works all year to fill a jar with loose change. On Christmas Eve, they go and leave the jar anonymously on the doorstep of someone who could use a little help and Christmas cheer.
Last year we left our first Christmas Jar on the doorstep of a family who had come across some hard times. My husband, son and niece snuck up to the house, left the jar and ran so that they would not be discovered. This jar inspired my niece to start two jars of her own for this year and ours is almost ready to bless another family a few days before Christmas.
This simple act of kindness can bring so much help and hope to a person in need. The money in the jar may help to pay some bills, buy food or a few Christmas presents. The most important thing that the jar will do is to let them know that they are special and loved.