There are so many ways you can encourage your children to give back to your local community. I’ve included a great list of local ways as well as other tips for national programs. If you have a program to add please contact [email protected]
A great tip for collecting donations is to have birthday party guests bring donations to a charity of your child’s choosing. We’ve supported the Ronald McDonald House, PAL, and our church over the years. It was great to take our RMH donations over and tour the house. We also visited with Lexington police officers when we met up to deliver sports toys.
The Ronald McDonald House offers a place to stay for families who have children staying in local hospitals. They offer dinners, snacks, and basic daily supplies for families. They have a wish list available that lists items they need. My kids have included this list with birthday invites and asked for donations instead of gifts. We enjoy dropping things off and seeing the welcoming home provided for these families. There are personal rooms, sitting areas, a playroom for siblings, and a kitchen. Dinners are provided by various groups around the area. You can call to schedule a way to volunteer to cook a meal. Follow them on Facebook for updates about the House and needs.
God’s Pantry is a local food bank that supplies food to families in need in the Central Kentucky region. They have a variety of volunteer opportunities for families. They always accept donations so you can gather donations at a party or event. You can join their regular warehouse sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturdays as an individual, with a group, family, friends or with your business or organization. Shifts can be completed in 3 or 4 hour increments. They welcome children age 6-13 with a parent or guardian and children 14 and up can volunteer alone. Shifts fill up in advance, prior registration with confirmation must be obtained prior to going to the warehouse. For additional opportunities click here.
The Salvation Army offers numerous ways to give back year round and at the holidays with their traditional Kettle Bell program and Angel Trees. Help with the Food Pantry (Monday – Friday; 9:00am -12:00pm), Clothing Center (Monday – Friday: 9:00am – 4:00pm), Emergency Shelter, Emergency Disaster Services (Must be willing to attend training sessions and be on-call), Early Learning Center (Read to children), Boys and Girls Club, and Music Program year round. During the holidays find out about the Red Kettle and Angel Tree Programs.
The Police Activities League of Lexington is a crime prevention program that relies on recreation, athletic, and educational activities to build positive relationship between police officers, youth, and the community.
My boys loved visiting with local officers to drop off our donations. The PAL group accepted various sporting equipment we collected at my son’s birthday.
Set up a summer lemonade stand and raise money for homeless kids in Central KY! My boys love a lemonade stand and they’re always suprised when folks stop to just donate and don’t even want a cup of lemonade. We also enjoy seeing the giant red kettle at the finale and dropping off our earnings in it. Also, they have games and refreshments at the finale and we’ve even been on the local news!
Gavin is an 11 year old boy living in Nicholasville, Kentucky, who has undergone treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). He decided shortly after his diagnosis in February of 2009 that the UK Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Clinic should have snacks on hand for patients who have been fasting for procedures, most of whom are on steroids as part of their treatment causing them to have voracious appetites. Many of these children live in communities a great distance away from the clinic, and many of them come from low-income households. Gavin’s family helped him start Gavin’s Goodies to provide snacks to the UK Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Clinic.
Gavin’s Goodies is also proud to have partnered with Indian Summer Camp to supply enough snack foods for their 100+ pediatric cancer patients to enjoy for the entire week of camp. Indian Summer Camp is free to pediatric cancer patients and provides experiences that families cannot. Many of these kids would not be able to attend a regular camp, but thanks to many volunteers and donations, patients spend a full week doing all the things healthy children do at camp—except that at ISC they are under the supervision of their doctors and nurses. ISC improves the relationship between the patients and the medical staff. Going back to the clinic or hospital for treatment is a much more pleasant experience for the kids after spending time with the staff in such a non-medical way.
Gavin’s Goodies continues to supply snacks to the clinic, but in order for us to continue to supply Indian Summer Camp, we need your help. If you would like to make a monetary donation to Gavin’s Goodies, you may mail it to our partner organization:
Attn: Gavin’s Goodies
P.O. Box 123
Wilmore, KY 40390
*Please make your check payable to GO INTERNATIONAL. Be sure to write Gavin’s Goodies on the memo line so your donation will be credited to Gavin’s Goodies. Include your name and address if you would like a receipt as all donations are tax deductible.*
If you would prefer to donate actual goodies or get your team, group, or organization involved in a snack drive, here is a list of desirable items. Note that all snacks should be in individual serving sizes, individually wrapped, and unexpired.
Apple Juice is very desirable because it is used to mix with certain meds,
Juice boxes, Capri Sun, Rainbow drinks, Hugs,
Goldfish, Whales, Vanilla Wafers, Animal Crackers, Cookies,
Chips, Pretzels, Popcorn, dry cereal,
Fruit cups, applesauce, cheese crackers, peanut butter crackers
Pop tarts, cereal bars, granola bars, fruit snacks,
Microwavable ravioli, spaghettios, macaroni and cheese
If you have snacks to donate or you would like more information, please contact Gavin’s mom Elizabeth at [email protected] or you can call (859)333-3700.
Jarrett’s Joy Cart
Based in the Lexington, Kentucky area, Jarrett’s Joy Cart, an all-volunteer non-profit organization, is directed by Jarrett’s Parents, Jennifer and Doug Mynear, and a host of dedicated helpers. Since Jarrett started his Joy Cart in 1999, Jarrett’s Joy Cart has touched the lives of tens of thousands of children from all across Kentucky and beyond.
There are plenty of ways you can help the Joy Cart keep rolling. From toy donations, monetary donations and gift card collections to birthday parties to school-sponsored penny wars, there are many ways you can help. Or, use your own creativity to come up with cool fundraising or toy drives. Click HERE for a current list of needs.
Military Missions exists to support and honor deployed military personnel by sending care packages year round as an expression of appreciation and gratitude.
There are many ways to contribute including purchasing items on their care package suggestion list , volunteering to help assemble packages, donate personal cards written to service men and women (what a great project for a team or part of a birthday party) or , . Items can be dropped off or mailed to our office in Millpond Shopping Center at 3650 Boston Rd., Suite 146, Lexington, KY 40515.
There are many area Humane Society branches. The Humane Society is always in need of donations so collecting items at a party is easy and always helpful. They also have a wish list available. The Lexington Humane Society welcomes volunteers age 14 and up. You can find more information about how to volunteer here.
The American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Lexington loves donations any time of year. Feel free to have your family or organization “stop and drop” off baked goods, food, or other donations anytime. They also have a need for family’s or organizations to come in and cook dinner for their residents. For more information contact:
The American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, Lexington
1500 College Way
Lexington, KY 40502
Phone Number: 859-260-8300
Blankets are collected locally and distributed to children in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies, or anywhere that a child might be in need of a big hug. You can make a blanket using their guidelines and give it to a local chapter.
My son was in the hospital as a very young child and got a special Project Linus blanket! This charity is a great way to give back locally in communities across the US! For info on your local unit click HERE.
Other ways to get involved
*Donation drop offs (churches, Goodwill, clothing drives)
*Raise money for a cause or participate in a race for a cause (Relay for Life, Walk to Cure Diabetes, Race for the Cure, etc)
*Adopt an elderly (silver angel) or an angel from the Angel Tree at Christmas through the Salvation Army
*Participate in a clean up like the Kentucky River Clean Sweep or the Downtown Trash Bash
*Help keep Lexington green and plant a tree for Reforest the Bluegrass