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Good Samaritan Saturday | Family Volunteer Day (+ a giveaway!)

Categories Giveaways, Good Samaritan Saturday
family volunteer day

This post was sponsored by generationOn as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” —Aesop

In hopes of talking less and doing more when it comes to helping others, I’ve started a series I’m calling Good Samaritan Saturday. On Saturday mornings, I’ll post a little something you can do to start your weekend out with positive vibes by helping to lift someone else up…

family volunteer day

Slowly but surely we’re heading into that super busy time of year. You can tell by the way the holiday decorations are creeping closer and closer to the doors of all the craft stores (#notready).

I always have the best of intentions during the holidays. I want to teach my kids to be giving—not just to friends and family members, but to people who really need a little extra love. Somehow it manages to get lost in the shuffle of activities and to-do lists and the hibernation that comes along with snow and ice. But giving back to your community doesn’t have to be this huge, time-consuming endeavor. With the right resources and a healthy dose of knowledge, your family can spread acts of kindness even while hunkered down during a snowstorm.

Enter generationON, whose mission is “to inspire, equip, and mobilize youth to take action that changes the world and themselves through service.”

Um, yes please! This sounds like exactly the type of organization a well-meaning momma like myself needs to actually take action and get her kids excited to do the same.

To kick my butt into gear even further, generationOn and Disney Friends for Change are working together to motivate thousands of families to volunteer in their local communities on Saturday, November 21st in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Family Volunteer Day—and to kick off the start of the holiday season with a warm, fuzzy, giving, bang.

Now, if you know me, you know I love a good deadline and a good project to put on my to-do list. And, if you’re anything like me, this is the perfect opportunity to make yourself think about and actually act on doing something positive for your community.

Whether you’re able to help out at a soup kitchen every Saturday, clean up your park once a month, or make cards to give out at the local nursing home when you’re stuck inside on a rainy day, any little bit of effort can make a big difference in someone else’s life—and teaching our kids that is huge.

So, I’m already planning what action the girls and I are going to take to give back. A little poking and prodding around the internet brought me to the Pajama Program, an organization that delivers warm pjs and books to kids in need.

family volunteer day | pajama program

Books are important to our family. Our most beloved ritual is reading bedtime stories each night. Samantha is nine and I still read to her every night—we’ve just traded in Goodnight Moon and Madeline for Harry Potter and The Baby-Sitters Club. The fact that there are so many kids that don’t have that little luxury—never mind a warm pair of pajamas to sleep in—is heartbreaking.

We’re going to do what we can to change that.

First, we’re going to start small by making bookmarks in our free time. Next, we’re going to buy some pajamas and books for kids in need. Lastly, I’m working on putting together a pajama/book drive party so we can get our friends and family to help us. I’ll let you guys know as soon as I iron out all of the details!

Now, to give you a little added incentive to start thinking about how you and your family are going to participate in Family Volunteer Day, I’m giving away a $100 Visa gift card.

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment below letting me know what your family might do to give back to your community. I’ll give bonus entries to anyone who follows me on Facebook or Instagram, just let me know in separate comments that you do!

The contest is open until next Saturday, October 24th. Contest entrants are only eligible to win once per sweepstake, per household as part of a campaign sponsored by Influence Central.

Jen is a freelance writer and girl mom from New York. When she’s not knee-deep in glittery crafts and girl talk, you can probably find her sprawled across her couch in the middle of a Netflix marathon with dark chocolate smeared on her face. The struggle is real.

283 thoughts on “Good Samaritan Saturday | Family Volunteer Day (+ a giveaway!)

  1. My family will be going around the city to pick up trash (New York can get crazy dirty), my daughter will be watering her school’s neighborhood garden with her dad, and *hopefully* we’ll get in a haircut (both my daughter and I are planning on donating our tresses). Making bookmarks is an excellent idea though, and it think my sons would really enjoy it as well-thanks for sharing the idea!

  2. we give back by volunteering with local food bank, sponsoring two families for christmas, and donatinf food.

  3. My kids and I plan to make snicker doodles and brownies to bring to the firehouse in our neighborhood and a local retirement community. My daughter especially loves to decorate the paper we wrap the treats with.

  4. I used to volunteer at my local hospital but due to taking care of my baby, I do not have time to do it. I usually donate clothes, kid toys, and recycled bottles for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters!
    Thank You

  5. I am following You on instagram @greenavocado

    Thank You for the chance

    P/S: By the way, I am also a fan of red onions, (and green onions too). I put them on every meals I cook. For me, they smell great and delicious 🙂

  6. We can go help unload deliveries to the local food pantry + help them organize the kitchen … been meaning to go back and do that again soon, this is a great reminder. Thanks.

  7. We have always done the angel tree but recently Ive decided that we may start doing packs for the homeless that include hygeine products as well as food. We love to give back!

  8. We always do a local Angel tree gift at Christmas. I let my girls buy toys for the children we pick to sponsor.

  9. we actually are working on starting a babywearing lending library! so that mamas can carry their babies comfortably and safely without breaking their budgets!

  10. My family is always there to help anyone who asks for it in any way we are able to. I’ll have to check and see what is needed in our community for volunteer day 🙂

  11. We like to help the elderly. We go to our local elderly home and help our neighbors. I wish we could do it more often.

  12. I am a Cubmaster for cub scouts ages 7-12 and we do lots to give back, we help at soup kitchens, plant flowers, visit retirement homes and write letters to the troops oversees. Teaching kids to give is one of the most important things that I can do for them 🙂

  13. I used to help elders clean, cook and sometimes just spend time with them. Not that I am am a mother, I will show my son this and hope he chooses to be giving and kind as well.

  14. Our family actually goes to the park about once a month to pick up trash. We’ve also been talking about volunteering at a homeless shelter around Christmastime. Thanks for teaching me about Disney Friends For Change and Family Volunteer day! How great!

  15. what we do to give back to the community is every time we go to the beach which is at least a few times a month we always bring a big trash bag with us and before anyone is allowed to go in the water or play we all pick up 20 pieces of trash!

  16. Love this idea! My family would enjoy working on the food pantry at our church as we have at the county wide one in the past. Or packing goody bags school supplies in back packs for kids in need or foster care. We send toys to the local “toy shop” for parents of needy kids. So many ways to give back, I love reading all the ideas.

  17. My family will participate in family volunteer day by making care bags and sandwiches for the homeless thru our church.

  18. We help military families in need, especially the loved ones left behind while the soldiers are deployed. It is most difficult during the holidays. Thank you for the chance.

  19. Hi, my kids and I like to visit older friends who normally don’t have visitors. First, it started with one person, Grandpa Ray, then through word of mouth, we were able to meet new friends. We visit them weekly, help out with chores, bring them treats & gifts, but mostly, we sit and listen to their amazing stories about ‘the good ole days’! It feels awesome to make our friends smile. We know that we are making a difference and it’s the best feeling in the world, especially when you share it with your kids!

  20. we are always donating to the food banks the free sites with clothing school supplies toys hygiene stuff …And nursing homes during the holidays and adopting families during the holidays

  21. My family and I volunteer at our volunteer fire department for the holidays by helping pass out to community members.

  22. When he was little, my son’s responsibility at the holidays was to choose nice gifts to donate to kids his own age–that grew with him through the years. Later, we donated blood regularly. He is a doctor now.

  23. We will volunteer at the local food bank or animal shelter. The kids prefer the animal shelter where they can pet cats.

  24. I love when winter jackets go on clearance. I buy them up and donate to Coats For Kids. We live in Minnesota and every kid should have a warm jacket in the winter months.

  25. I think a good way we can help out is by helping to clean up our community. It’s a small act that can have a great impact.

  26. We enjoy going together as a family to spend time with the elderly at our local nursing home. We always plan an assortment of activities. It brings us closer together as a family while it puts smiles on so many faces. It has taught my kids to have great respect for the elderly and they have learned so much from all the stories that are told there. 🙂 Makes my heart smile.

  27. I like to buy and stok up on things when I can buy them cheap or free through deals and coupons. Then I give them to schools for school supplies, or to local charities. That way I can help out without me going broke, as I am already tight on money.

  28. My family and I help out alot with our local food drives for our Community. We go around our neighborhood and collect items. A little bit really goes a long way when its something like this!

  29. I donate to the local humane society, am donating to food drives at work, Salvation army stockings, and personal care items to the local flood victims.

  30. I am a volunteer driver for the American Cancer Society – providing rides to cancer patients who need them to get to doctor appointments!

  31. My daughter actually just yesterday joined in with her architecture/engineering class in a project at our local mall. They all built Halloween structures out of canned goods, which will be judged in a competition then given to our local food bank!

  32. We will help two families in our community. One couple is having one health problem after another. We will take them a couple of meals. The second is a man in a wheelchair who needs some revisions made to his lawnmower so that it can be used as a snow plow this winter.

  33. My kids go to Catholic school and have several service projects during the year, including food drives, coat and boot drives, etc. My husband and I donate to the local homeless shelters.

  34. My daughter and I volunteer at the local library and help with the summer reading program. My daughter is a high school senior and has done this for 4 years. I think it helps instill the volunteering spirit.

  35. I think it’s so important for kids to be involved in their communities through volunteering! We always help with food and clothing drives and beach clean up days.

  36. We come from a culture (Native American) that values it’s elders and our elders are a priority in our community. My husband and I along with our children, spend a lot of time during the summer cutting, chopping and stacking firewood to make sure our community elders have enough wood for the winter. We also have a program along with the Fish and Wildlife department (Washington State) that allows us to get freshly killed dear, elk or bear (hit by cars). We process the animals and distribute them to our elders. It is a lot of hard work and takes a lot of time, but we want our children to understand the importance of this, and to know that when they are an elder, the younger generations will care for them as well. 🙂

  37. We will go work at the community garden. The food from the garden is then donated to the homeless shelters and used or given out to low income familes.

  38. We will help out at our local school, providing food for the Kidspack program, as well as contributing to the United Way, canned food drive, and other programs.

  39. we do valley pride day
    we go around for three hours on a give day and pick up trash on the side of the road every year! Its really fun!

  40. We are going to do a local coat drive for the homeless. Right outside in the park. We borrow tables from friends and the city lets us be without a permit as long as we do not leave a mess. There is a big homeless community here in our city and winter is approaching very soon! This will be our 3rd year! The first two years we brought warm coffee and soup too which we plan on doing this year as well. We also hope to expand the drive to include more socks, gloves, scarves and blankets too! Its so amazing how humble and appreciative those in need are ♥

  41. We love to help our community. we are getting ready to help out for our local Stuff-a-truck for our local food bank. Then for Christmas we donate to the Toys for Tots. In the spring we help with Green Up Vermont, where we clean up our neighborhood and roads. We donate clothes and book year round.

  42. We try to stay very active in our community. My daughter and I are both volunteers at the local animal shelter. My husband is very involved with the Knights of Columbus with church as well as the American Diabetes Association. When they do fund raising events of charity events we always participate as a family. My husband also leads a lot of charitable events through his position with his job, in which we always participate in as a family.

  43. Our family donates time at one of the local food banks as well as donates food, clothing, usable household items to various charitable organizations in our community. At Christmas, we donate presents for the children in need.

  44. To give back to the community, my family and I sometimes volunteer at the food kitchen and pantry. We also sing at church. I’ve volunteered at an AIDS hospital in the area. We also donate to Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services.

  45. I love to donate school supplies to low income students and always donate several toys to needy children at Christmas!

  46. My husband and I take our son to the family park once a month and pick up all the litter. I hate to see garbage where our kids play! We also volunteer at our church when we can. I really want to teach our little guy to care about others!

  47. My family and I are volunteering at several women’s counseling and children’s counseling clinics in the chicago area! Providing relief for abuse victims and poverty stricken families.

  48. My family and I plan on volunteering at the local community center to rake leaves and set up for a charity walk the next day.

  49. Our area was devastated by Hurricane Matthew. We have collecting leftover hurricane supplies and have been donating them to the local shelters. We are under mandatory water restrictions, and have quit watering our lawn. It has inspired us to get a water barrel!

  50. I live in beautiful, rural eastern Kentucky and there are lots of hiking places and outdoors activities. My favorite place is called Lockegee Rock, which is a short hike and a climb up to a beautiful outlook over the forest and the lake. Unfortunately, there is a lot of trash around there from people who don’t care enough to respect the land. When I hike it, I try to gather as much trash as I can carry, but I think I would like to get my friends and family together to make a dedicated trip to clean up the trash and make the area nice again.

  51. I have a rare pregnancy related heart condition, called peripartum cardiomyopathy. It sends young mothers into heart failure, and often, moms are unable to work. I would like to start a fund for the moms to help out with Christmas or medical bills.

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