A goal for any parent is to raise children who care about and contribute to their community. Teaching the lessons of gratitude, abundance mindset, and sharing are important parts of this mission that we work on throughout their lives. Yet, this feels especially necessary during the end of year holiday season. Sometimes the best ways to teach these values is to do something together with our hands.
The Doing Good Together project helps families do just this. Each month, DGT™ does the research to find family-friendly volunteer opportunities in the Twin Cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota and surrounding suburbs). They compile these opportunities into monthly listings shared with email subscribers and on their website.
Through the DGT™ project we found some great opportunities that match varying needs of Twin Cities families. Hands on volunteering or crafting can be a rewarding experience for both learning as well as spending family time together. You can bring your children along in the conversation and the work when you shop for food or other donations for giving this season. They can help package gifts or other donations. Setting aside coins or percentage of allowance is a great way to participate in monetary donations and then deciding as a family where your donations should go makes it more personal for everyone.
Ways Your Family Can Give Back
Making Fleece Blankets for Kids with My Very Own Bed
My Very Own Bed’s mission is to provide new beds and linens to children of families that have recently secured stable housing. Each bed comes with bedding including a warm twin-sized blanket, which is often a fleece-tie blanket made by volunteers. This project can be completed from the comfort of your own home and is a great option for larger groups that would like to volunteer! You can find all the instructions here.
Date/Time: They ask all volunteers to schedule a drop-off time in advance. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule. Drop-off times are generally available Monday–Thursday 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Location: Donations accepted at the office at 34 13th Ave NE, Suite 106, Minneapolis.
Contact: For more information contact email@example.com.
Help our Food Insecure Neighbors with Food Shelf Support
Millions of children and families living in America face hunger and food insecurity every day.
Thanksgiving means a time to give thanks and many families incorporate helping with holiday meals for their neighbors in need and those living with food insecurity. Demand at food pantries has continued to grow due to the pressures of inflation, supply chain issues, and decreased federal support. Your family can help our food-insecure neighbors with your time, food donations, or financial donations. Here are a few ways you and your family can help:
- Reach out to the local food shelf in your community to see what support/donations they need this year.
- Start a collection drive of specific items (canned goods, etc.) and deliver them to your food bank prior to the holidays.
- Make a donation to your local food bank or food shelf
Location: Click here to find the food shelf closest to you.
Adopt-A-Family for the Holidays with Avivo
Avivo’s Adopt-A-Family Holiday Gift Giving Program matches families who are currently participating in an Avivo program with community sponsors who anonymously provide gifts for the holidays. Join our Adopt-A-Family holiday gift program, with the goal of helping 500 families have a happy holiday season. From November 1–December 10, sponsors/donors can give in a few ways: donate gift cards, donate general gifts, make a financial donation through the Avivo website.
Date/Time: Giving opportunities are open through December 10.
Location: Sponsors/donors can deliver donations to an Avivo location in early December. Donation drop-off locations will generally be based on where you live or by which Avivo location the family you sponsored is being served. Online giving is also available.
Contact: Click here for more information and FAQs about the Adopt-A-Family program. Or contact Brittany Biggers, firstname.lastname@example.org
Holiday Hope Sponsor a Family 2022 with Community Thread
Find another opportunity to help support local families this holiday season with Community Thread. Since 1970, Community Thread’s Holiday Hope Program has offered hope to individuals and families throughout the Stillwater Area School District and surrounding areas. With the help of volunteers and sponsors, Holiday Hope provides a holiday meal and gifts to families and individuals in need during the holiday season. In 2021, this program helped 2,710 individuals (including 1,470 children) right here in our local communities, and we anticipate serving even more people in 2022. Click here for the Holiday Hope Wishlist and here for the Gift Card Wishlist to learn how you can help through gift donations, monetary donations, and more.
Date/Time: Drop off donations Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Recipient registration begins on October 24 and the matching process begins on November 1. Sponsors will purchase gift cards and/or gifts requested by the recipient and deliver them to Community Thread by December 7.
Location: Drop off at Community Thread, 2300 Orleans Street West, Stillwater.
Contact: HolidayHope@CommunityThreadMN.org or 651.439.7434. Click here to register to sponsor a family.
Provide Holiday Treat Bags with Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners (IOCP)
Help make the holidays a little sweeter for families by packing small treat bags that will be distributed along with holiday gift cards. All treat bags will be given to low-income families registered for the Interfaith Outreach Holiday Gift Card Program. Here’s how your family can help:
- Purchase needed supplies: Cellophane bags, twist ties or ribbon, and 30 pieces of store-bought candies including caramels, mints, chocolates, and candy canes.
- Sanitize your work area and hands.
- Place the following inside a cellophane bag and seal tightly with a twist tie or ribbon.
All items must be individually wrapped and cannot be homemade. No items should include nuts or gelatin (e.g. marshmallows).
Date/Time: Deliver holiday treat bags on Friday, December 9.
Location: Drop off at IOCP, 1605 County Road 101 N, Plymouth.
Contact: Ashley Wyatt, email@example.com. Sign-up is available online.
Fall Community Volunteer Event with The Link
Join The Link for their 2022 Fall Community Volunteer Event providing holiday meals for youth experiencing homelessness. You can make individual frozen meals or help fill their food pantry with holiday-related food items! Sign up to volunteer to pack or to bring ingredients, non-perishable food items, or grocery store gift cards!
Date/Time: Monday, November 14, 4:30–6:30 p.m.
Location: Grace Lutheran Church, 7800 150th St W, Apple Valley.
Contact: Yongyee Lo, Development & Volunteer Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration is available online.
Make Room for the Hungry Giving Project
Financial donations is often one of the best ways to support the efforts of our local organizations providing resources to our communities. Yet, making those financial commitments can be challenging for children to see. DGT has a great idea for making the conversation around abundance a family activity.
They have a project called Make Room For Hungry. This project, which makes kids mindful of hunger, requires only a few moments each day. It lasts a month and can begin any day you choose. The calendar lists something to count around your home, such as how many pairs of shoes or how many spoons, and then invites you to place that number of coins into a dish. Not only does it make the collection of money visible for a child, but it also encourages conversation around abundance. You can find a link to the calendar to start this practice whenever it works for your family. While the focus is on hunger, the donation activity could be used for various ways your family prefers to give back.