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:
The Holiday Cards for our Military Challenge is a non-profit from NH that collects and sends holiday greetings to our deployed military. Last year they collected over 50,000 cards from all 50 states. Kids in Service participated last year and donated 35 cards, this year we are hoping to collect 500!!
In order to meet our BIG goal, we need YOUR help. 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 Kids in Service, PO Box 4095 Windham, NH 03087. All cards need to mailed in or delivered by October 25th so we can get them in for the Halloween deadline. Locally we will be collecting cards at our Kids in Service Table at Windham’s Harvest Fest on Saturday, October 19th.
This service project does not take a lot of time, is perfect for ALL AGES (everyone who can hold a crayon) and will make such a big impact on the person who receives your card.
Thank you for helping to brighten up the holiday of our wonderful military!
It is hard not to smile when you look at the children’s artwork on this page. In January, our Kids in Service NH group painted cheerful paintings for the patients at a hospice house. Volunteers visit the residents and ask if they would like to choose one of our paintings to cheer up their room. The painting of their choice gets hung on their bulletin board and it is our hope that everyone who visits their room is brought a little joy in a very difficult situation.
This spring, we partnered with the hospice house again and painted small terra cotta pots. I sealed each one with glaze and then we planted a flower in each pot. The 20 pots were delivered to the patients staying at the hospice house and other hospice patients around the community.
Creating artwork to cheer up hospice patients is a WONDERFUL service project for all ages. You could paint uplifting paintings, make blank greeting cards with the children’s drawings on the front or paint pots like we did. I recommend that you reach out to the volunteer coordinator at your local hospice house and see if they would like children’s art donations.
Hospice is a very difficult and sad concept for young children. I suggest that you tell your children that you are painting happy art for people who are sick in the hospital. That is all they need to know to be invested in this project. I am sure that their art donation will not only bring a little joy into the patient’s heart but the hearts of their family as well.
Kids in Service NH partnered with Shepherd’s Food Pantry and St. Matthew’s Church for a once a month service project called, the Brown Bag Delivery Project. Once a month, it is our job to help deliver the food that is collected on Brown Bag Sunday at St. Matthew’s and deliver it to Shepherd’s Food Pantry. This project is PERFECT for ALL AGES and it is one that helps so many people in the community.
Here is what Kids in Service Mom Kristen had to say about their experience:
Justin and I went to St. Mathew’s church on Sunday evening. He thought it was pretty cool because he got to wear pajamas (since it was so close to bed time). While we waited for the church service to end, we sat in the car and talked about what we were going to do. Justin was excited to bring the food to people who need some extra help. When people started to leave the church, we went to work! Justin liked using his “strong muscles” to bring the bags to the car. Justin and I made 4 trips back and forth to the car before 2 women noticed what we were doing and asked if they could help. The two of them were able to pick up the big bin of food and make it to the car in one trip. Justin was very impressed and happy that they helped us out. We thanked them and took the food back to our house (leaving it in the car overnight).
In the morning we drove the food to Shepherd’s Pantry in the POURING rain. I have to admit I was not looking forward to unloading all of the food and getting soaked. But it turns out I didn’t need to even think about getting soaked. As soon as I drove up, three volunteers came to my car with shopping carriages and unloaded all of the food in just a couple of minutes! The volunteers were so grateful and kind to both of my children in the car. On the ride home Justin asked a few questions about why people needed extra help with food. It ended up being a great discussion and I believe it was a great learning experience for both of us!
This project is flexible and you do not need a mini-van or a large SUV to participate. With a little creativity, I know we could fit all of the food in my husband’s Toyota Corolla. Most of the food is in shopping bags, which makes it perfect for little hands to help carry food to the car. This project is a great opportunity to discuss all of the blessings that you have in your life and how important it is to share those blessings with others. This is a very simple, family service experience that is FREE, does not take a lot of time and best of all it helps serve the community!!
We were away Mother’s Day weekend, so I made arrangements with St. Matthew’s to come and get the food on Monday morning and we brought it straight to Shepherd’s Food pantry (this is an EASY option). We left our house at 8:09am and were back by 8:40am!! We have done this project two times now and it is always so much fun working together on a common goal.
If you and your family live in Southern, NH and you would like to participate in the Kids in Service Brown Bag Delivery Project, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food pick up can be done at St. Matthew’s on either Sunday at 7pm after the last mass or between 7:30-10:00am on Monday (you need to make arrangements if it is before 9am). Food drop off at Shepherd’s Pantry is on Monday between 6:30-10:30am.
“You’re never too young to change a life on the other side of the world”–www.kidknits.org
My daughter discovered Kid Knits a few years ago and we have purchased many of their hat making kits and yarn since. Kid Knits was started by Ellie when she was just nine years old. She wanted to help people on the other side of the world by using the yarn that they made to knit hats. With family support, Ellie started a non-profit organization. Kid Knits now supports woman in Chile, Rwanda and Kenya by giving them a channel to sell their yarn.
In our home we have made adult hats, child hats and doll hats (lots of doll hats). The kits come with a round loom, directions and beautiful wool yarn in a variety of colors. Making hats is super easy to do with the loom and the perfect thing to do while watching TV or listening to an audio book. The kits range in price from $14-$24 or you can buy the yarn separately. All kits come in beautiful handmade bag from Chile and they make wonderful gifts.
From my 9 year old daughter: “The kit helps to make knitting hats easier. The yarn is soft and bright. It is cool that a 9 year old started Kid Knits.”
Ellie is another example that you are never too young to make a difference in this world. From her home in Illinois, she is helping women on the other side of the world to have an income source. Check out this video about Kid Knits below, Ellie is an INCREDIBLE Kid!!
A few years ago, our Kids in Service NH group organized a Food Drive. Our goal was to collect 1,000 items for the local food bank and the kids worked so hard and surpassed that goal!
The food drive was organized in the spring and many went to door to door collecting food from neighbors. The children emailed friends and family and asked for donations, many sent money. My children sent a box with their dad to work and sent out a company wide email. This experience was hands-on and I was so proud of the kids and all that they accomplished!
You do not need to set such a high goal but organizing a food drive with friends and family is a great way to give back to your local community. This is a GREAT time of year to organize a food drive. Food banks get the bulk of their donations in November and December and thus the spring and summer months can be pretty sparse.
Food Banks are looking for items that are non-perishable and that are within expiration date. The best items to donate to food banks are:
Peanut Butter (or Nut FREE versions)
Pasta and Sauce
Canned Meat (chicken, tuna, salmon, SPAM, ham)
Instant Mashed Potatoes
Canned Vegetables and Fruit
Soap and Shampoo
toothpaste and toothbrushes
Diapers and Wipes
Meet Joshua, when he was 4 1/2 he started organizing food drives with the help of his parents in Miami where he is from. This led to the start of his youth-led foundation, Joshua’s Heart. Since starting his foundation, he has raised over 1 million dollars, distributed 2.2 million pounds of food, distributed 100 thousand toys, clothes and toiletries and has over 25 thousand youth volunteers. The video above was filmed 4 years ago when he was just 11, it is both inspiring and heart warming. Joshua is truly an INCREDIBLE kid!
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.
I am so excited to have one of our INCREDIBLE kids writing for the site today! Please welcome Chloe! Chloe is 11 years old and wanted to share with you an amazing organization called Cradles to Crayons where she recently volunteered with her family and friends. Cradles to Crayons has three locations in Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago. Here is some background info about Cradles to Crayons (written by Chloe’s mom).
Cradles to Crayons is a non-profit organization that not only serves families in need, but provides opportunities to the wider community to contribute to this service in multiple ways. CtoC are masters of organization, and let volunteers know how their contribution of time, or items, or cash will help others. Individuals, families, and any group or organization can sign up to sort books, toys, school and art supplies, personal care items, clothes and more for a two hour block of time. The CtoC staff explain how their work and the work you do as a volunteer will directly help families and children who face challenges many of us cannot even imagine. We can’t wait to return and bring new friends to share in this meaningful experience. Learn more here: https://www.cradlestocrayons.org/
When I walked in for the first time, I saw hundreds and thousands of things. It was like a big country with millions of islands! We sat down at a table to decorate a birthday bag. It feel very home like there. The people assigned us to the book section, then the lady told us the rules. One of them was don’t steal any of the books of course! Another was no religion, holiday or family books because we don’t want to offend someone for what their culture or religion is. And we don’t want to put in books about a family because that might make a little girl or boy feel bad about their circumstances.
One job was to sort books into their right age group, another was to make piles of books and put them in the finished age categories. The age groups started at zero to two, up to eleven to twelve. I did both jobs.
We were assigned to do this for two hours, sounds like a lot but when you start to get into it, it feels more like 20 minutes! I must have done over fifty piles of books. One of the important rules was that kids zero to two must only aha board books, so they don’t hurt themselves. And kids also zero to two must only have three books in their piles because they are younger so they won’t be doing that much reading. And so three and up kids have five books in their piles.
Once it was over, I was really sad. I was having an amazing time and I didn’t want to stop! But I had to, so I told my mom we have to come back here again soon! We then proceeded back to the tables we started at and heard that our book group helped over 150 kids and their families! And all the groups put together ended up helping over 900 kids and their families!
After that me and my friends couldn’t help ourselves, so we went back pretending my friend lost her bracelet but really, we just wanted to make more pies! The lady then caught us and asked us what we were doing (and of course I had a pile of books in my hands) and my friend said quickly; “Oh, I just lost my bracelet and I was hoping to find it, oh look it’s right here!” Then we scrammed!
I had so much fun. It’s important to take a break from your life and remember that there are billions of kids and their families out there suffering while you may be sitting on your couch watching TV and eating amazing and delicious food. While for some people, a bag of chips is dinner! It feels really special to know that a little girl, boy, mom or dad is happy because of something you did! So go to Cradles to Crayons to have that special experience!
Yesterday the kids and I volunteered for a two hour shift at the local food bank. We have volunteered here a few times before on weekends or in the evening and have had great experiences. I signed up online a few weeks ago for a morning shift and we took a quick break from homeschooling to volunteer. After our time serving, my son summed up our experience when he said, “Mom, we were in the way.”
When we arrived, one of the staff looked at us with recognition but great surprise. “You signed up online for today?” she asked. “Well, we will find something for you to do.” The food bank was a well-oiled machine with twelve to fifteen adults who all had a purpose. We were put in charge of sorting toiletries and spent 30 enjoyable minutes with a task that was meant for us (we turned it into a game which made it a lot of fun).
Once our task was complete, we went to find the staff member and ask for our next job. She asked us to help sort produce and assuming we had done it before, left us with the task. Thankfully the produce volunteers could smell our newness and guided us through the process. This job was already well on it’s way to being done, throw in three new people (one of whom is a 9 year old daydreamer), a tight space and you can guess that we were more of a hindrance than a blessing.
We trudged on through our task and stayed until completion. When the group took their lunch break, we made our exit. Only an hour of our two was served but I don’t think any of them were sorry to see us go.
Some service experiences leave you feeling so good and others just so-so. I told the kids that despite this experience, we will try another morning at the food bank. If we go again, maybe we will start to learn more of the routines and soon add more value to the task.
I also think it is good for people of all ages to come together for one common goal and this food bank provides that. There were seniors who couldn’t read the labels on the tiny shampoo and conditioner bottles (but we could), my 9 year old that just wanted to trade in the produce job for one sorting sugary pastries and lots of ages in between. Together we unpacked the truck, organized the food and completed an important task. I hope they won’t be sorry to see us coming back again.
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?
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