Share the Spirit of Giving – Local Ways for Kids to Give Back

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” — Booker T. Washington


We love the holidays! This change of the seasons is a great time to teach young people about the Spirit of Giving.  This season is known for being a time when families come in out of the cold to eat food together, and many suburban children rarely see people who are homeless, hungry, or without adequate warm clothing. Therefore, it’s especially important to teach children how to be compassionate and concerned for people in need.  Volunteering together is a great way to allow children to experience the Spirit of Giving first hand, and local support is always needed and appreciated. 

Here are some ways to help spread the “Spirit of Giving” to your child:

□       Talk to your child about children and families who do not have money to buy coats, food or toys this year. Help them understand what it would be like for a kid their age to be part of a family who does not have a home, a roof over their heads, heat in their house, or to be hungry all the time.

□       Watch the Bay Area Rescue Mission’s video showing the people they served in 2010. Children are inquisitive and often need to put a face to who they are helping to make it real. Let your child know that together you and your family can do something that will make a difference in a child’s life this Holiday Season.

□       Donate Food.  Have your child search your pantry or at the grocery store to select his/her favorite foods—pasta, peanut butter, jelly, soup, canned fruit, beans, etc. Please check the expiration date! Put all the items in a bag and together bring it to your local grocery store for theBay Area Rescue Mission.

□       Donate Coats. Have your child go through their closet to find gently used coats and winter gear that he/she no longer wears or has outgrown to donate. Put all the clothing in a bag and together bring it to our office or the nearest One Warm Coat collection station.  Be sure to remind your child that the coats will help another child stay warm this winter!

□       Donate Toys. Ask everyone in the family if they would like to contribute to purchase a new toy for a child who otherwise would not receive a gift for Christmas. Talk about how old the child might be and what are ideas for a gift for this child.  Find a time to take your child to the toy store to purchase a gift. Give yourself enough time to let your child browse and select the “right” gift for this other less fortunate child. This can be a tricky as it is easy to get sidetracked by the toys your child wants/likes and lose track of the mission—to find a toy for someone else.  Once you have the toy, bring it to the nearest Toys for Totscollection station.

□       Create your own donation campaign. Does your child have a passion for animals?Many animal shelters will accept old towels to use for animal bedding. Do you know someone in the military? Collect small gifts, treats, books, and toiletries to send to troops overseas with a handmade card from your child. Does your family have a specific cause they would like to support? 

We have seen the impact our coat drive has had on families that the Bay Area Rescue Mission serves and we encourage your family to participate in an act of giving this year. The point is to let your child think about who they can help, what they can do to help, and then allow them to assist in collecting and delivering these items with you, so they have a sense of being involved and of actually giving.

Allowing the Spirit of Giving to be a part of children’s lives both during and beyond the holidays helps them to be better citizens of the world and keepers of kindness.

Ann Woods, Director, Roughing It Day Camp


Ways to Join Roughing It in the Sprit of Giving this Season

At Roughing It Day Camp, we have been participating in the One Warm Coat for the past several years. Each year our camp office at 936 Dewing Ave, Suite G, in Lafayette has been overflowing with coats thanks to the generosity of our camper families and neighbors from Lamorinda to Diablo Valley to San Francisco. If you have any questions call our office at 925-283-3795 or visit our website

Happy Holidays from Roughing It!