Giving back is not just something that adults can do nor is it something that requires a great deal of money. In fact, there are many ways for individuals of all ages to give back using money, time or talents. Here are just six of those options to give you some encouragement and to spur your mind to dream up other fabulous ways of caring for those less fortunate that your family.

First, every member of the family can choose to donate a percentage of the money that he or she makes to a charitable organization. While many parents do this every year for churches or other charitable organizations that they support, even children can be taught and encouraged to give a percentage of the money they earn. This could be something as little as a few cents after getting paid for household chores or mowing the lawn or a few hundred dollars every year for teenagers who are bringing in a paycheck. This will help children quickly learn the joy of giving and set up a habit for giving that will last long into adulthood.

Second, even young children can learn how to donate some of their belongings to a thrift store or other charitable company to allow others living in the community to have access to low-cost clothing, toys and household belongings. Not only does this help families give back to those who do not have as much as they do, but also it helps clear out unnecessary belongings that are clogging up the home and storage spaces.

Third, families can search for a local food pantry and either donate food themselves or sponsor a food drive. Other options that are available in some communities include getting involved in church events that support donating to the food shelf or using the brown paper bag provided yearly by the United States Postal System to donate food to the needy in the community by conveniently filling the bag and leaving it by the mailbox on the designated day.

Fourth, sporty or active families may want to support local sports. This could take many different forms, such as by supporting it with money or by taking the time to work with children involved in sports. However, families with young children may most appreciate finding ways of getting their kids involved while also giving back. Community centers are often a good place to find these types of programs. For example, West Oakland-based entrepreneur Neill Sullivan has provided a community space where children can exercise, learn martial arts and learn many important life skills. Getting involved in a venture such as this will show children of all ages that giving back can be both beneficial and fun.

Fifth, families can search for local non-profit organizations that support a favorite cause. Good options include the Ronald McDonald House, the Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity and Little Brothers. Many of these organizations have plenty of chapters all across the United States, letting families stay connected with their favorite organizations even if they move.

Finally, families do not have to depend only on organized events or non-profit organizations to help them give back to their communities. Families can look around their own neighborhoods and find plenty of individuals who could benefit from their help. For example, they can befriend a local senior and offer to do yard work or snow shoveling.

Giving as a family can be done on one or two special occasions during the year, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. However, keep in mind that the needy in the community continue to have needs even if it is not the holiday season. The best option is to find a cause that families can support consistently throughout the year with their time, money or talents.


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