The power of kids giving back - SHIM

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The power of kids giving back

Kids at a lemonade stand for SHIMKids can make a difference, too. Many parents look for ways for their children to give back to their communities in unique ways.

SHIM hosts events throughout the year for volunteering, but outside of SHIM and even just in your home, there are countless other ways for young people to support a worthy cause over the summer, while also having lots of fun.

Here’s a guide to engaging your kids in a charitable effort this summer – or any time throughout the year:

Get creative!
A classic lemonade stand can be a great way to support any charitable organization. This can be as simple as setting up a table in the front yard with some pitchers of lemonade, cups, and a donation box, or it could be a more elaborate event with detailed information posters, neighborhood-wide promotion, and a wide assortment of refreshments. It all depends on the children’s ages, interests and budget.

Other fun projects could include a bake sale, car wash, yard sale or service (dog walking, yard work, etc.) with the proceeds going to support a favorite charity.

There is a job for everyone
Kids love to help. To help your kids put their plan into action, assist them in identifying ways to use each one of their interests to accomplish something meaningful for the project.

For instance, an aspiring artist might get excited about creating eye-catching signs to promote a yard sale; a budding chef may enjoy baking an impressive assortment of cookies for a bake sale; someone else might want to take charge of planning to be sure that the lemonade stand supplies are all in order; a confident communicator may take pride in crafting the perfect 30-second pitch to explain the important work of the chosen charity. Sometimes all you really need is some contagious enthusiasm to promote the event.

The more the merrier
Many service projects can also be done with friends, youth groups, scout troops or as part of a neighborhood event such as a block party. What better way to spend your time than having fun with friends while doing something important and worthwhile? Community service is a great team-building activity.

Every little bit helps
Did you know that SHIM is able to purchase food through the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank at a substantially reduced rate? This allows SHIM to purchase approximately $5.00 worth of food (at grocery store prices) for every $1.00 donated. Help your kids understand that any type of donation is helpful.

For instance, $50 from a bake sale would allow SHIM to purchase 50 jars of peanut butter for the families who rely on the food pantries.

$200 from a car wash would provide food for one person for a whole year.

$75 from a yard sale would enable SHIM to purchase three days of fresh produce for SHIM’s three food pantries.

Even $5 from selling 10 glasses of lemonade one hour on a Saturday afternoon would be enough to buy $25 worth of food from the food bank.

Connecting the dots
Some organizations, such as SHIM, also provide young philanthropists the opportunity to see first-hand how their work is making a difference. A tour of the SHIM food pantry, for instance, is an unforgettable (and eye-opening) experience. This not only reveals the problem of hunger in our community but also highlights the opportunities (including for kids) to help fix it.

As children develop a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities within their own neighborhoods and beyond, they start to develop into the next generation of community leaders.

By keeping them engaged and making it fun, we can help kids discover the joy of giving back.

By Norma Schmidt, a South Hills resident who, along with her daughter Eva and their Girl Scout Troop, has been actively involved with SHIM’s Sack Hunger, Pack Hope campaign, food drives, and more.

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