Volunteering in the community is a value I want to share with my children. One of our annual traditions is joining Volunteer 4 Long Island’s Thanksgiving effort to feed people who are homeless and under-housed. Before we feast on dinner at my Mother-in-Law’s house, we feed the spirit–others and our own.
V4LI actually takes the meals and personal items and warm clothes out to the make-shift shelters where people without homes congregate.
We love working with V4LI because they find something meaningful for everyone to do, they have yearlong efforts so they make a deeper connection with the community, and everything they do is done out of a spirit of love.
My daughter (age 7) helps assemble packs of personal items and also works on the food line.
My eldest son (age 5) helps make cards that go out with the meals.
You are never too young to get in the habit of giving–there are tons of ways young children can volunteer and serve.
Share your ideas for #GivingTuesday and link up at Bloganthropy, an organization I co-founded with Debbie Bookstaber. In the spirit of #GivingTuesday, Element Associates, in partnership with Bloganthropy, is donating $1 for each link up to 100 links to Postpartum Progress.
This morning I spent a little time helping Volunteer 4 Long Island to assemble packages of food, personal items (toiletries), and clothing for those who are homeless or living in emergency and temporary housing.
Even the littlest volunteers helped make cards to go in the packages.
Those who did not have small children then went out and distributed the packages to the people living in the surrounding woods, abandoned and condemned buildings, and shelters and temporary and emergency housing.
Watch this amazing video of their efforts Feeding the Homeless in 2008–I guarantee you will be moved!
As part of my work with Bloganthropy.org, I launched @Volunteer4LI on Twitter, got a basic website up and running, and directed people to their facebook page. Jeanine, who co-founded the organization with her husband, said that all of the kind bloggers and tweeters who helped spread the word (especially those who are part of Long Island Tweet-Up – @LITweetUp) got them dozens of additional volunteers. And we’re going to have Jeanine share on Bloganthropy how they got started with this wonderful effort. Hopefully we can see how social media can help others get projects like this started in their own communities!
Jeanine’s husband told an amazing story illustrating how even small acts of kindness can plant the seeds for salvation. He explained that the goal for today was not only to feed empty stomachs on this one occasion, but to feed hearts and souls for a lifetime.
I am amazed at the good works this organization does. If you are on Long Island, please join. Even if you are not on Long Island, please see their projects and I hope they will inspire your own efforts.