Volunteering is something that is so important and can be done at pretty much any age. Prior to COVID, my toddlers aged boys and I would volunteer with local non-profits as much as we could. Like all things during this pandemic, we have to change and adapt, and the same goes for how we volunteer. COVID restrictions have changed the way we volunteer, but that doesn’t mean that there are not ways to serve your community from the comfort of your own home. Here are some ideas for Louisville area volunteer opportunities to do with your kids.
Make hygiene kits.
These are perfect for organizations that serve our homeless population. You can fill a ziplock bag with travel hygiene products such as: hand sanitizer, soap, shampoo, lotion, nail files, deodorant, hand wipes, toothpaste, toothbrush, and small snacks. While putting the kits together, you can teach young kids how to count, match, recognize letters and numbers, and most importantly teach them about helping others.
Make prepackaged snack bags.
Similar to the hygiene kits, except you fill it with prepackaged snacks. Some ideas for snack bags are: crackers, chips, peanut butter (individual servings), granola bars, cookies, fruit snacks, and maybe even a little candy treat. Just make sure that everything you put in the bags is prepackaged to help with sanitization. Again, you can use this as a teaching moment for your children so it’s a win win situation!
Places where you can donate are the same as the ones listed above.
Add a Free Pantry to your weekly routine.
There are several free pantries around Louisville. These pantries serve so many people every day. They rely on everyday citizens to fill them. Go through your cabinet and find non-perishable items or add a few items to your grocery pick up every week to contribute. After you have your items, take a drive to a pantry near you or take a drive to one in a part of town you don’t frequent so that you and your kiddos can have a change of scenery. Let your kids help you pack the items in a box or bag and help you put them on the shelves of the pantry.
For a list of Free Pantries, please visit their FB page.
Make Welcome Baby Bags.
Every new parent needs a helping hand. Gather travel size baby products: lotion, shampoo, diaper rash cream, diapers, and wipes. Put them in a little bag and maybe throw in something special for the new parent, like socks or chapstick.
Mama to Mama is a local nonprofit that serves in so many ways! One of the ways is offering doula services to families. Doulas serve during pregnancy, during birth, and even follow up after birth. This gives families in need the support that they need through the entire pregnancy at little to no cost! The doulas like to be able to give the parents a small gift at the birth, or soon after, to help with the new baby. This would be such a good way to have your littles help, especially if they are expecting a new sibling!
You can also include encouraging notes and/or pictures drawn by you or your kids in the hygiene kits, snack bags, or on the free pantry items. You never know when your note/picture may make someone’s day!
Donate items to Thrift N Thrive.
Go through your closets, your toy boxes, your cabinets, and/or garage and donate your used items. Check their Facebook for times to drop off your donations! Thrift N Thrive profits benefit Re: Center Ministries (formerly Louisville Rescue Mission).
Support South Louisville Community Ministries.
There is a great need for families that are struggling to make ends meet. South Louisville Community Ministries is one organization that steps into those struggles and assists day after day. There are several ways you can volunteer or support them! One way you can support them is to visit The Rosewater Bookstore. This is a social enterprise, volunteer run, ONE OF A KIND, bookstore that gives back all of the proceeds from its sales to the members of the community. Books range from $5-$7 and kids books are only $1! While this isn’t necessarily hands on volunteering, it is a way for you to teach your kiddos about giving back and the unique ways that is it done in Louisville.
We usually take the money my children get from their grandparents and spend it on books at The Rosewater. My four year old understands the money that he gives for his books gives back to someone in need and its such a sweet thing to see him willingly give his money to the volunteers who are working the store.
Mentor or volunteer with these amazing organizations:
I Would Rather Be Reading
This is an opportunity for you to be trained virtually and volunteer virtually! What an awesome way to volunteer during a pandemic! Student Mentors will help children in the program with NTI virtual work and/or lead reading enrichment lessons via online. Please check out their website for more information.
Second Chance Wildlife Center
On their website they give great ideas for things to do with your kids that you can do from home! One great idea is to collect acorns for their animals. Another is to make nest boxes, which you could do as a family, and then donate. You can also collect small tree stumps to be used in their outdoor enclosures. What a great way for animal loving families to make an impact all while being outside! There website also mentions emailing [email protected], so that may be the best place to start, so that you can know their immediate needs.
Alley Cat Advocates
Take a walk and distribute door hangers and posters around town. Email [email protected]. ACA helps provide humane treatment of unowned cats who live in the Louisville area. They provide humane trapping, neutering/spaying, and return of cats in the community. Again, what a great way to have your animal loving littles be involved in helping animals in need, all while getting out and about in the community.
My Dog Eats First
Separate large bags of dog food into gallon bags and label them with the brand and type of food. Email [email protected] to find out more information. You can check out their Facebook page as well for up to date needs for the community! You can also use this as an opportunity to teach your child about measuring!
Be a neighbor.
You and your kids can volunteer right in your own neighborhood. Rake leaves, shovel snow, pick up trash, check on your neighbors and do what you can.
Though my kids are young, I know they will remember aspects of this time in their lives. The one thing I want them to remember is kindness.
I hope that this list helps cultivate more and more kindness is our great city of ours.Tag us with #MomsAroundLouisville to show us how you are volunteering with your kids!