Giving Back & Volunteering: Why I Volunteer With My Kids by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
My older son and I have enjoyed volunteering together in the past, and I decided my younger son was ready to join us. The boys, two of their friends and I went with our church group to a local organization called Mercy Mall, a “free clothing and housewares boutique with gently used items." While there are many ways to volunteer there, we helped with their "Cases of Hope" program, which supports women who will soon be released from prison.
We filled suitcases with toiletries and a week's worth of clothing. We were given a woman's name, her size and her needs. The boys enjoyed "shopping" for her. As we gathered items, they noticed how crowded Mercy Mall was with people in need of clothing and other items, including families with children their own age.
When we left, I asked them how they felt about the experience and what they had learned. They told me: "Everyone deserves help and kindness. We are all very fortunate. Many people need things that we take for granted. It feels good to help others." I left feeling grateful – grateful for the opportunity to volunteer with my sons, grateful to be able to help someone in my community and grateful that my boys got so much out of the experience.
Learn more about Mercy Mall.