Inspire Your Family to Give


Answering the call to give has been elevated to a new level over the past several years, following natural disasters, wars, and struggling economies in the US and around the globe. We are seeing a new generation witness the hardships and suffering via 24 hour news cycles and social media. Consequently, more people than ever before have dipped into their own pockets to offer needed relief to those who need help. 

Giving USA has noted that 2014 and 2015 saw the highest individual giving totals on record and predict that 2016 will be even greater once the dust settles! All of this increased giving is going to have a great impact, but what if parents want lessons about giving to be more than a one-time occurrence or a digital “call to action?” What if they want to leave a legacy and teach their children that the spirit of giving can be a way of life and even a habit?

The more “connected” the younger generations become, we risk becoming more “disconnected” to some of the needs right in our local communities. This year, we want to encourage you to find opportunities for the entire family to participate in giving back. Below are just a few suggestions that you can start doing this week! 

1. Donate clothes, furniture, toys, and other goods.

Periodically go through your closets and other rooms looking for items which can be given to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Encourage your children to do the same, and allow them to select which clothes or toys they wish to donate. Getting your children involved in this process will help them to recognize the principle of giving to those who may be “between blessings” and need help. Also, when you donate items to Goodwill, Salvation Army, and other programs, you are not just giving them used clothes to sell. You are also helping to sustain some very important jobs in our local community that significantly impact local financial stability.

2. Help make Christmas special for foster children and the elderly.

James 1:27 is simple and a great principle to pass on to your children…”Pure and faultless religion is simply this, take care of widows and orphans in their distress…” Right here in Smith County, you have the opportunity to take your children Christmas shopping for children who don’t have parents who are living in state care or with foster families. There are many opportunities to engage in a service-oriented project to help our elderly neighbors as well. Rake leaves, deliver food, or even take your children to perform for the elderly at a nursing home.

3. Give blood.

Take your children with you so they see you as a model for giving. Talk to them about why you choose to donate blood and what you hope it will accomplish by doing so.

4. Make every holiday charitable.

Set up Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Birthdays as a time for giving to others. You could purchase some books and involve your child in the decision of whether to give the books to a woman’s shelter, a day care, a clinic, or some other appropriate organization. 

5. Pitch in.

Volunteer regularly at your church, place of worship, or get involved in a local civic organization. Each year in early Summer, the United Way of Smith County puts on an annual “Day of Caring” where hundreds of local volunteers complete projects all over Smith County. Involving your children in events like this helps them to develop their own spirit of giving.

By involving your family in some of the above ideas or others like them, you will be helping them appreciate that reaching out to others in need is a way of life, rather than a moment in time. If you are looking for ways to get more involved locally and would like to learn more about United Way of Smith County, we encourage you to browse our website and contact us anytime with any questions you might have. Every dollar stays local and goes directly to improving local lives.

AUTHOR: Reece Anderson
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