Spend the Summer Giving Back
I’ve written in the past about the co-op camp that a friend and I used to run each summer for our girls. For the theme of my camp one summer, I chose “Giving Back in KC.” We spent the week finding ways to volunteer and give back in our own community. I’m often asked about volunteering options available for families in Kansas City. Below is a snapshot of the activities from our week. Note that some locations do require a minimum age for volunteers, so be sure to ask about that when looking into volunteering with kids.
Lemonade Stand: The old tried and true way to raise money was a big hit. We hosted a stand and used everything we earned to help fund our activities throughout the week. It took an entire day but was extremely successful. And, with social media, we were able to spread the word to friends and family members. Another option for raising money is a toy sale. Monies raised from either a lemonade stand or a toy sale can be used to purchase supplies or can be directly donated to a charity of your choice.
School Supply Drive: We decided to collect school supplies to donate to Catholic Charities, which gives to families that aren’t able to afford school supplies. We printed up flyers, attached them to grocery sacks and then went door to door through a few neighborhoods leaving the note and bags. On the notes, we said we’d be back around later in the week to collect the supplies. I did not anticipate the amount of supplies we’d collect—it took us an entire day to pick them all up and sort them!
Prepare and Serve Dinner: We used the money we raised at our lemonade stand to plan, purchase, prep and serve a meal to the residents at Shalom House, a homeless men’s shelter that provides shelter and hospitality to men who need a safe place to stay. Because it was summer, we decided on a barbecue-themed dinner and prepared hot dogs, brats, hamburgers, baked beans, chips, watermelon, cole slaw, brownies and cookies. We prepared the food at home and then transferred to the shelter. We set up and then served the meal. After we were finished serving, we sat down and ate with the guests of Shalom House. This was one of my favorite activities. The men we encountered were so grateful for what we had done, and I know the kids enjoyed getting to see the fruits of their labor in action.
Pack a Snack: We visited Harvesters and learned about their BackSnack program, which provides a backpack with nutritious food for school children to take home over the weekend. The girls were able to practice packaging the snacks. It’s quite a process, and they sure have it down to a science! They also enjoyed learning about all of the kids all over the metro that are helped through this program.
Each place we visited was so appreciative of our help. And several people I spoke with mentioned that if you aren’t able to give your time, monetary donations are always appreciated. It was a busy week, but it was time well spent with many life lessons learned.
Is your teen looking to volunteer this summer? Youth Volunteer Corps Summer of Service allows ages 11-18 to get hands-on experiences serving our community. Details at YVCKC.org.
KC Parent editor Margaret Sarver loves finding ways to give back with her girls.