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Giving With Grace: 12 Ways Your Child and You Can Give Back All Year Through

All children are born with compassion. We teach our children to talk and help them learn to walk. We must also provide them with opportunities to give with grace.

Giving with grace is the ultimate gift of love and compassion. He cannot negotiate and has no ulterior motives. Grace is at the heart of every true gift, embracing warmth, compassion and love in both the giver and the receiver.

Many believe that the need to give to those in need is greater during the holidays. While the holiday season increases both the need and desire to give, it’s important to give graciously all year long. The spirit of Christmas should bless your child’s life all year long, and it’s important to involve your child in where and what they want to give. It doesn’t have to be complicated to give. Here are twelve ways you and your child can give with grace throughout the year.

1. Create a school gift box

Take your child to your local dollar store and let them pick out school supplies for children in need. Many local schools and shelters receive donations of school supplies for low-income families in the area. The School Supply House organization of Portland, Oregon offers a free store and receives regular donations from local families and businesses.

2. Help your neighbor all year round

Pick up leaves for an elderly neighbor, bake homemade bread or cookies to send to our servicemen and women, or deliver to a homeless shelter. Making homemade soup for a sick neighbor or friend. Bake treats and take them to an old people’s home. These are easy gifts for our neighbors.

3. Blankets blankets

What toddler do you know that isn’t attached to that special “swaddle” that provides security, warmth and love? It’s something that many underprivileged kids just don’t have. Place the gift of warmth with a homemade or buy a soft blanket in the arms of needy children. Project Linus provides easy to make no-sew blanket kits.

4. Breaking bread with others

Organizing a food drive, serving at a homeless shelter, or making food baskets for needy families is sought after year-round. Involve your child in choosing canned foods, fruit and other treats for the basket. At the holidays, decorate the gift package. Your church or school can help find families in need.

5. Bank the change and make a difference

Even our loose change can make a difference! Creating a charity jar for the whole family to put their change to donate to a charity.

6. Animal care

Local humane societies and animal shelters are always in need of volunteers and supplies. Animals at the shelter need playtime while waiting for their forever homes. Make and deliver kitten toys. Buy kitty litter and kibble and let your child spend time with the animals receiving their gift.

7. Donate used toys and clothes

Your local Goodwill and similar organizations are always looking for gently used toys, shoes, coats and clothing. Have your child choose toys and clothes to donate to these organizations. Take him with you when you leave the presents.

8. Make a happy noise

Children love to sing. Get together with other parents and put on a music concert at your local school auditorium or church, with proceeds from ticket sales going to a local children’s charity. During the holidays, go caroling at a local nursing home or children’s hospital. Many seniors are happy to have little visitors, especially if they don’t have grandchildren of their own, and nothing touches the heart more than bringing some happy noise and a teddy bear to a child in a hospital.

9. Make a bunch of smiles

A handmade holiday card or “just because” gift of homemade cookies or bread can bring a smile to your child’s local champions, such as a teacher, local police officer, pediatrician or school bus driver. These local heroes are an important part of your child’s life!

10. Cleaning ride

Take a walk around your neighborhood or the local playground and pick up any trash you see along the way. This is a great family outing that provides service to your community and exercise too!

11. Throw a charity birthday party

Birthday parties are a great time to give to others. When you host your child’s birthday party, ask guests to bring a new or gently used book or toy to donate to a local charity or shelter.

12. Be a Christmas Angel

Most malls have an “Angel Christmas Tree,” filled with tags containing a child’s name, age, clothing size, and special request. Have your child choose a tag and shop together for the needy child.

It is the parents’ job to teach their child to give happily and gracefully. Each of us should “give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”Corinthians 9:7)

© 2013 Catherine L Pittman

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