12+ mostly-free ways to give back and help others in need

This post isn’t sponsored. We just wanted to share 12+ mostly-free ways to give back

We got a chance to visit The Compassion Experience when it visited Washington State in Snohomish, and it was a really awesome experience with the kids. The website said it was a way to experience another world without leaving yours and that it was suitable for children, so I decided on a whim to schedule a time slot {it’s free and you can drop in if you’d like but they suggest you schedule a time to avoid lines} to take one or two tours in their pop-up tent. Compassion Experience TentEven though the kids have traveled with us pretty extensively, read stories about people less fortunate, and have been exposed to many different lifestyles, sometimes it just doesn’t seem like they get how truly lucky they are. I wanted to show them the things that are hard to teach on travels by giving them an immersive experience where they truly learned about someone who wasn’t born into a world of running water, malls, and full fridges.

The Compassion Experience was a way for them to see that for many people in the world, simply going to school, having clean water to drink, or a family to love them is their biggest wants in life. In one of the life experiences during our tour we met a girl who didn’t have toys so she played with mud dolls. This really hit home with my daughter who has been blessed with not only one, but multiple, dolls from a very young age. Compassion Experience

Giving back with kids

My daughter is sensitive and compassionate by nature, but imagining a girl playing with dolls made out of mud because she didn’t have store-bought toys really resonated with her. She talked about how that must be for kids without toys for weeks, and now when we’re out and shopping and she asks me for a toy or something she “must” have, this is a good reminder for her that whatever she desires right now is not a need, it’s a want.

For us, needs are addressed as they come up, but items the kids merely want are given on holidays or they are earned. And, I know that makes them extremely lucky. There are so many kids in the world whose needs aren’t addressed or they don’t get special things for holidays.

With this knowledge that they have been blessed, I want to encourage them to give back and to help others the way that they would like to be helped if the roles were reversed.  I’m really proud of the ways that they now suggest they can give back on their own when they have enough to share, and are excited to help those in need. Compassion Experience 2Are your kids looking for ways they can give back? Here are some ideas that don’t involve writing checks, which makes them ideal starting points for children. Even though these ideas don’t directly cost money, they will all need help from an adult to make them happen and in some cases will need supplies, donations of materials, or stuff you already have lying around your house.

12+ Mostly-Free Ways To Give Back in your Community and Beyond

  1. Open a lemonade stand or have a bake sale and donate all profits. We did a charity bake sale as part of For Goodness, Bake! to benefit No Kid Hungry and it was really awesome to see the excitement as their donation grew. For us, the making of the baked goods was half of the fun, so it was a great way to get baking and raise money at the same time. Bonus: You might get to sample some delicious treats as well. 6a0105362badb1970b01b8d0c4cad4970c-800wi
  2. Donate your hair to make wigs for those in need. There are many organizations you can donate to from Locks For Love to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths and many salons will make the donation for you. My daughter did this earlier this year and I’m so proud of her for donating her hair she grew out for years. I love her new short bob, but it’s even cuter to me when I know that her thick, beautiful hair will be used to make a wig for someone in need. Bonus: Less hair to style each morning.
    Hair donation pony tail
  3. Clean up your space by donating toys, clothing, games, and gear that you are no longer using. I admit that I selfishly love this idea because it gets me a clean house, but I also love that the process is so easy. Just have your child collect their items and then place them in a local collection bin or pull up to a drive up donation place and be rid of all that clutter while giving new life to your old things. Bonus: Many locations will give you a tax receipt that you can use to write off the thrift store value of your donations. Children's clothing mess
  4. Sell or donate your artwork for charity. Use favorite drawings or art pieces to make greeting cards to sell to raise money for charity. You can do original pieces for each card or you can scan and make copies to make multiple sets of the same card by scanning and reprinting artwork. Bonus: These also make great gifts for grandparents, so make a few extra for upcoming holidays. Gyboree kids coloring
  5. Participate in a walk or run for charity. Have family and friends sponsor your child to raise money for your cause. Bonus: Staying active as a family is always a great idea, and even better if it benefits a special cause.
  6. Create Blessings Bags. I don’t know about you, be we always have a surplus of toiletries and individually wrapped Costco-sized snacks and food that we could stand to share, so I love the idea of giving these items to those in need. You can fill gallon-sized bags with wrapped toothbrushes, sealed toothpaste, soaps, lotions, snack and treats, as well as new socks, cold or hot weather must-haves {depending on the season}, and more. Take a look around and you and your child will surely find items that would make a huge difference to those in need. Once you have them collected and assembled you can hand them out to people in your town or you can drop them off at women’s shelters or other charities and they will disperse them for you. Bonus: You finally know what do to with the 300ct granola bar pack. Donation spot
  7. Make lunches for the hungry. You can volunteer at soup kitchens, shelters, and charities with your child to make food for those who are down on their luck. Bonus: This will get your child working as a group with others in their community so they see that helping others is a joint effort.
  8. Food Bank donations. Find a food bank near you and see what they are in need of. Clear out your pantry with your child by bringing in non-expired foods to fill their shelves. Bonus: You can finally make use for the 12 jars of tomato sauce you accidentally bought instead of salsa.
  9. Plant a garden for those in need. Don’t have a full pantry but instead have room to plant? Grow a veggie garden or plant fruit trees and donate your bounty to food banks and shelters near you. Kids love helping garden, and especially if they are growing things they especially like to eat. Bonus: You get to enjoy your harvest as well, which can help you eat well and have lower bills at the grocery store. Girls in Eddie Bauer coats
  10. Coupon for a cause. If you follow many coupon blogs you know that sometimes there are coupons so good that you end up with free items or getting paid to buy items. Whenever you see your favorite deal blogger post a FREE or MONEY MAKER deal that is a donate-able item, jump on it and load up for charity. Have your kids help cut out and organize the coupons and help you on your shopping trip to get them excited about couponing for a cause. Bonus: This is a great way to utilize coupons for products you don’t use at home instead of throwing them away.
  11. Donate unopened toys and gifts. Did your child get a toy for their birthday or a holiday that they already have or isn’t a good fit for them? Teach them to give to others by donating that toy or gift instead of returning it to the store. Bonus: This is a wonderful chance to remember to be thankful for the presents that they received and share that wealth with a child who isn’t as fortunate. Donating Corolle
  12. Share your blessings. Most of us have one or two things that they are blessed with – whether it’s a shareable talent or it’s a tangible good. My blogger children are constantly being given items at events and through campaigns that make wonderful donations, and I love to encourage them to share with others. Think of your blessings and put them to work helping others. Bonus: This is a fun one because it allows your child to think outside the box a bit and get creative.
  13. Volunteer your time. One thing that doesn’t cost a thing is your time. You can volunteer with your kids at many different organizations and see all that goes into helping people in your town while working together with other members of your community. We participate in Comcast Cares Day and love the Comcast In The Community site that allows us to see and filter volunteer projects near us. Bonus: Volunteering as a family is a great bonding experience with your kids, which makes it win-win.Comcast Cares Day volunteers

Love this list? Pin it so you can find it again! Helping Others CollageDo you have a favorite way to give back that doesn’t cost money? I’d love to hear them!

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