Every penny counts. That's a message that parents can teach their children about giving money to charitable organizations. When a child gives freely of his or her own money or collects money for a charitable campaign, it reinforces values like generosity, compassion and gratitude.
For more than 60 years, UNICEF has organized a fundraising drive around Halloween called Trick or Treat for UNICEF. The mission of UNICEF is to provide medical care, food, clothing and other resources to children around the world. Halloween is a time when kids can easily get caught up in the quest for more and more candy. By collecting money for UNICEF during their neighborhood rounds, kids can think about children who not only don't have candy, but may not have enough to eat. When each child empties his or her donation box at the end of the night, they can be proud to contribute to a fundraiser that has collected over $164 million and saved countless lives worldwide [source: UNICEF].
But you don't need to wait for Halloween to collect for a good cause, and you don't need to focus on cash donations. Ask your kids what they're most thankful for. Is it their food? Their home? Their toys? Explain that not everyone is so lucky, but that even little kids have the power to help. You can do something as simple as donate some of your old toys to a homeless shelter or walk around the block asking neighbors for a canned good to donate to the local food bank. Your child might get so excited about helping that they want to organize a clothing drive at your church or a neighborhood rummage sale for charity.
For our next family volunteer activity, we'll look at some unintimidating ways to help out the local homeless shelter and food bank.