This year has been exceptionally difficult for non-profit organizations.
The Salvation Army is in dire need of bell ringers, soup kitchens need servers, animal rescues need fosters and so much more.
So while our kids anxiously wait to see what’s waiting for them under the Christmas tree, now’s the time teach them the importance of giving back, all year round.
“I came down here and I volunteered and I’ve been here every since,” said Tammy Churchill, Bismarck grandmother. “I just love just love it.”
Tammy Churchill mentioned to her grandkids that she was volunteering at Heaven’s Helpers Soup Cafe in Bismarck, and her grandson Grant took an instant interest, so she asked if he’d like to join her.
“He said, ‘Yeah, that’d be great Nana!’ So I started bringing him and he just got hooked on it. Every week he’d say ‘Nana, when can we go again, go again?’ So every week he was coming with me,” recalled Tammy.
As time went on, all of Tammy’s grandkids hopped on board and have been volunteering with her ever since.
“They’ve always had giving hearts, all of them,” said Tammy. “It’s been a great experience for them to be able to multitask, like when they’re out in the front with the patrons, they wait on people, they visit with people. They take orders and get their soup to them and it’s just a great experience.”
The benefits of volunteering are endless.
They teach our kids appreciation, empathy, life skills and so much more.
Tammy’s 10-year-old granddaughter Emma has been volunteering at Heaven’s Helpers Soup Cafe for about a year now.
“It’s an awesome place to volunteer, just so everyone can eat,” shared Emma, granddaughter. “And it’s just really awesome for kids to do it, and helpful.”
(What has it taught you?) “To be more organized and clean, and it taught me to be more helpful,” Emma reflected.
Emma’s 8-year-old sister Addison has enjoyed giving back as well.
(What is your favorite part of working at Heaven’s Helpers?) “Helping people and making sure they’re okay,” said Addison, granddaughter, “and making sure that sometimes they get food that they want and they are happy and Merry Christmas.”
And the kids aren’t the only ones who enjoy getting out into the community and helping.
“The patrons love it too because they really like to see the younger kids,” Tammy said.
So during this holiday season and beyond, consider the gift of giving by lending a helping hand, and be sure to bring an extra set of little hands to keep the good deeds going.
There are ample opportunities to take your kids and volunteer all across the region, so check with organizations such as a soup kitchen, local men’s, women’s and children’s centers, animal shelters or food pantries, or take your kids to an elderly neighbors home and offer to shovel the driveway – the possibilities are endless.