Involving kids in volunteering and philanthropic efforts at a young age means they are much more likely to carry on those values as adults, leaving our world a better place for all.
Here’s a list of volunteer opportunities for families with kids under age 12.
The goal of #HashtagLunchbag is to spread love by bringing bagged lunches to those in need. The organization hosts monthly events where attendees of all ages pack and distribute lunches to individuals struggling with homelessness and food insecurity in the downtown Orlando area. The movement started in Los Angeles about six years ago and has spread worldwide.
United Against Poverty (also known as UP Orlando) was created to inspire and empower people living in poverty to lift themselves and their families to self-sufficiency. Kids can attend the Family Volunteer Night, where they will help stock, clean and organize the shelves of the organization’s grocery store. This event takes place on the second Friday of every month, and pizza is provided. If you can’t make it to the monthly event, you can also sign up to volunteer as a family on an alternate date.
There’s always work to be done at Second Harvest Orlando, a Feeding America food bank. Kids ages 10-15 are invited to volunteer with an adult chaperone. Kids ages 5-9 can volunteer on Family Day. Volunteers help with a variety of tasks, which can include anything from bagging sweet potatoes to sorting canned goods or even packing disaster relief boxes for communities in need.
Salvation Army Orlando hosts a wide range of volunteer opportunities, but is well known for the Angel Tree project that takes place during the holiday season. In addition to the Angel Tree project, family-friendly activities include serving food to those in need on Thanksgiving, Dress-a-Bear and the Stuff the Stocking Challenge.
The three Central Florida-based Ronald McDonald Houses offer a variety of volunteer opportunities where kids can participate. The Baking Buddies program invites families or groups to bake sweets or casseroles. Families can also work together to assemble kits that include toiletries or individually wrapped snacks. Another way to help is by rounding up a group to prepare a meal together for the Share-A-Meal program, where your group will shop for ingredients and then prepare a meal for Ronald McDonald House families in their on-site kitchen.
Serving over 2,000 children in foster care in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, the Foundation for Foster Children provides personalized support to individual kids based on what they need to succeed. Families can support this organization by participating in the Make a Birthday Card project. Your family can make gender-neutral birthday cards, and then mail the cards to the organization to be distributed when a child celebrates a birthday. This is a fun and thoughtful project to work on together, and your family can do this from home.
Feeding Children Everywhere’s mission is to provide healthy meals to those in need. Your family or group can get involved by participating in Hunger Project events, where you will work together with other volunteers to prepare food donations for distribution in domestic or international communities.