The rolling over of a new year brings opportunity—to shed bad habits, collect new ones and refine our day-to-day lives. But rather than filling your resolution list solely with personal promises, usher in 2015 with some resolutions that are truly selfless, like donating your time and your talent to those in need! Not only will your philanthropic pledges of goodwill resound throughout the whole year, you’ll also show your kids the value of putting the needs of others before their own. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about what kind of difference your family can make in 2015!
- Give of Yourself
There’s much more to charity than writing a check. Spending time at a local orphanage, soup kitchen or after-school reading program is just as valuable as cash—and can be even more rewarding! Surf the Internet to find a cause close to home—and close to your heart—that could use a helping hand.
A charity we loved spending time at in 2014: The Path Project
That’s Elf on the Shelf® Co-Author Chanda Bell and North Pole helper Adriana Angle reading to children in English and Spanish during an after-school program run by the Path Project. In addition to assisting kids with their academics, this organization helps children in five different at-risk communities in Georgia and Tennessee find the right paths for their lives spiritually and socially.
- Look Around the House
Consider it time to part with the past! Ask your kids to clean out their closets and drawers to find toys, stuffed animals, clothes and other belongings that they no longer use. Make sure to explain how these items will find a new and loving home with those in need. Your family will surely enjoy learning about how their donations will make an impact in the lives of others!
A cause we loved giving to in 2014: The Campus Clubs of Macon
We lent Santa a helping hand in sending Scout Elves to 30 children who are a part of the Campus Clubs of Macon, a program supported by the Junior League of Macon that serves at-risk kids and families. All year, these kids work hard studying and mastering life skills, so we agree with Santa—they certainly deserved a special surprise!
- Give Back at the Holidays
Depending on your station, the holidays can be the most wonderful—or melancholy—time of the year. Remember those who are missing family or lacking basic necessities when it comes time to celebrate a special holiday. As a family, you can start an annual tradition of volunteering—maybe you will spend an hour on Thanksgiving at a local soup kitchen, donate special gifts to the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Veterans Day or start a Christmas caroling trip to a local homeless or assisted living facility. Whatever you do, it’s sure to make the day merry and bright for those you are helping.
The charity we rang in the holidays with in 2014: MUST Ministries
By purchasing presents for families staying in an emergency shelter during Christmas, Santa’s Elf on the Shelf family was able to help children and their families being served by MUST Ministries collect basic necessities like socks, blankets and towels, as well as fun Christmas presents like bikes, dolls, and books.
- Love Thy Neighbor
Honor those in your community doing the most good by showing them how much you appreciate their efforts. From public servants like firemen and police officers, to teachers and mailmen, there are many people who deserve our gratitude! It doesn’t take much to show you care—catering a dinner for firemen working late, baking something sweet for a special teacher, or giving a gift card to someone in your neighborhood who spearheads community improvement efforts is the perfect way to say thanks.
People we loved showing gratitude to in 2014: Teachers, through the Cobb Chamber of Commerce Give Our Schools a Hand program
By donating money to the Give Our Schools a Hand Program, Santa’s staff helped the Cobb Chamber of Commerce recognize the 2014 Teachers of the Year in our local community. Find about more about the program here and learn about how The Elf on the Shelf® supports educators through our own Teacher Program here.
- Educate Yourself
Expand your horizons and learn about a charity that you’ve never heard of. Maybe you’ll become educated on a disease in need of a cure, or learn about challenges facing families in faraway communities or countries. Do some online research with your kids and find a cause that the whole family feels invested in getting involved in!
A charity we learned about in 2014: Clothed in Hope
Clothed in Hope helps women in the south-central African nation of Zambia become self-sufficient by teaching them about business and sewing, equipping them with the know-how to create their own products and sell them.
When Santa told us about the life changing community building work of Clothed in Hope, we sent financial resources to help with the organization’s ongoing efforts to break the cycle of poverty, one stitch at a time!
For additional philanthropic inspiration, check out some of Santa’s other favorite charities listed below, which were supported by The Elf on the Shelf® in 2014. Maybe one of their missions will motivate you and your family to get involved!