The season of giving is upon us and with it plenty of opportunities to teach our children the importance of giving. Empathy and compassion for friends, family and strangers alike are important lessons throughout the year, but it seems opportunities are everywhere as the cold weather approaches, and this year is no exception.
Here at Lilladu, giving back to the community is a core value and its importance doesn’t stop at the door but continues in our own homes. This year, our season of giving started early, with a young boy in Portland, ME with an early Christmas wish. Jacob Thompson is asking for homemade Christmas cards in celebration of his favorite holiday, as it may sadly be his last. Jacob, 9, was diagnosed three years ago with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancerous tumor that has unfortunately spread to his head and his hip, says his family.
To fulfill his wish, his family is asking everyone to help by sending him homemade Christmas cards. Our family here at Lilladu Exchange and at home have all participated and we encourage everyone to do the same. The address to send your cards is:
Maine Medical Center
22 Bramhall Street
Portland, ME 04102
For more information on Jacob Thompson, please visit his family’s Go Fund Me page.
Sending Jacob Christmas cards is one of many different ways to involve our children in the spirit of giving to others. Giving Tuesday, which falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a great way to kick off this charitable season and teach our children the importance of helping others in need. Below we have compiled some wonderful Giving Tuesday ideas your kids can participate in:
- Volunteer at your local soup kitchen – nothing teaches the necessity of food like helping people fill their hungry bellies who would ordinarily not be able to afford to do so themselves. Large city soup kitchens or food banks often fill their holiday volunteer spots early but smaller local kitchens may not be as fortunate and could use all the helping hands they can get, no matter how small.
- Sponsor a family for the holidays – Contact your local women’s shelter, teen shelter, Fire Department, Police Department or even hospital for wish lists of local families that may need an extra hand making the holidays joyous this year. Kids love the idea of giving presents to people and will enjoy helping you shop and wrap these anonymous gifts.
- Provide a Thanksgiving meal for others – Have your kids help create a basket of your family’s favorite foods to donate to a family in need this winter. You can also contact your local Meals on Wheels and see if they need help delivering food for the holidays. Bring your kids along and let them hand out the deliveries; an act that will surely put a smile on everyone’s faces.
- Donate toys to others – Nothing explains the importance of giving away old, unused toys better like the example of helping other, less fortunate kids. Have your littles sort help through their toys and donate them to other kids at local shelters or Boys and Girls clubs. You can continue the spirit of toy giving by participating in your local Toys for Tots program. This is a great organization that helps provide presents to less fortunate kids around the country. Involve your littles by letting them pick out the presents at the store and delivering them to the designated drop off area.
- Brighten up a kid’s day at the hospital - Contact your local hospital’s Pediatric Department and see if they accept cards and small gifts for children staying in the hospital over the holidays. Similar to Jacob’s request, have your kids make cards and/or crafts for these children.
- Baking is always appreciated - Kids love to bake and making cookies and brownies for others is an easy way to for them to participate during the holidays. Make a couple extra batches this season and bring them to your local police and fire departments as a way of saying thank you for all they do. Your kids will love giving gifts they made themselves and will enjoy seeing these local heroes up close.
- Adopt a family impacted by hurricanes – Visit AdoptaFamilyUSVI to send a care package of items in need to one of the many families that have been affected by recent storms. Have your kid’s help you collect items in your home (toiletries, coats, etc.) and go shopping for additional pieces that could be added to the package and brought to the post office for delivery.
- Sing carols! - Music seems to always be the best cure and no one likes to sing more than kids. Reach out to assisted living or retirement facilities and see if you and your kids (and maybe some of their friends too) can come in a start a holiday sing-along at a local elderly home.
We cannot wait to see how your family celebrates Giving Tuesday. Comment below and let the season of giving shine!
UPDATE: Jacob's family announced on Monday morning on his Facebook page that Jacob sadly passed away on Sunday November 19th. For those interested in making a donation in his honor, the family is asking for it to be to Operation Gratitude (a penguin rescue group), or to pay it forward in your own community.