Our family has made the MLK Day of Service a tradition in our home. This year, social distancing has made it harder to venture out for service projects, but that has not stopped us from continuing our mission to serve others. Here is a list of some family service projects that can be accomplished at home or as a family unit.
1. Plant a seed starter kit
Whether you want to make the earth a little greener or get a head start on a garden that can be used to feed others, planting seeds in a starter kit is the perfect way to begin. January may seem early for plants, but starting seeds early can allow them to establish themselves before transitioning them outside.
2. Make toys and treats for animal shelters
Local animal shelters rely on volunteers for many projects, however many are not accepting in-person volunteers. There are a variety of different animal toys and treats that can be made at home. Try one of these great ideas from Wayside Waifs.
3. Have your own Canstruction competition
Our local food bank has an annual competition where you purchase non-perishable food items and build a work of art with them. After you snap a picture, the food is donated to those in need. Why not replicate this competition at home? Clean out the pantry or add a few extra items to your shopping list and let the kids create their own Canstruction masterpieces!
4. Collect donations throughout your home
Not only can you find old toys, clothes, and other items you no longer use, but take it a step further and ask the family to donate one or two items that are relatively new. Books, coats, and shoes are items that are best donated with little wear and tear. See if you can find some newer objects to donate in addition to those old finds.
Do you have a plethora of old school supplies? Put your crayons, colored pencils, stickers, and coloring books to use by creating a waiting room busy bag. This ideas was adopted by St. Jude's Research to provide activities for children to do while in the hospital waiting room. Be sure to call around to your local hospital to see if they will accept donations at the time of creation.
6. Get outside and pick up litter
Whether it is a walk around the neighborhood or a visit to your favorite park, taking the time to pick up litter is just as important as ever. Protect yourselves by wearing plastic gloves and sanitizing your hands before and after the project. Take along a bag for recycling as well as one for trash.
7. Organize a drive in your neighborhood
Offer a contact-less porch pick up event. Decide as a family what you would like to collect (coats, canned food, personal hygiene items, etc). Distribute information on when items will be picked up via flyers and email lists. Follow through by visiting homes and collecting items. Measure your impact by counting donations before dropping off at the charity of your choice.
One consequence of poverty is a literacy gap. Children from low income homes frequently do not have the ability to have at-home learning supplies. Partner with your local Headstart program to create ABC and number flash cards either for the classroom or home learning.
9. Assemble care kits
Talking to kids about the homeless can be difficult for them to comprehend. Help bridge the gap by creating personal hygiene kits. Add Kleenex, wet wipes, dry shampoo, hand sanitizer, hot hands, and deodorant to a gallon size plastic bag. Encourage your kids to write and include and inspirational note to include in the care package. You can donate to local organizations or keep them in the car in case you find someone in need.
- Random Acts of Kindness You Can Do From Home
- Positive Coaching
- Ways to Empower Kids
- Character Books for Preschoolers