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 lexfun4kids@gmail.com

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.

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There are a variety of ways to get involved at God’s Pantry!
*Sort food at the pantry
*Host a food drive
*Collect monetary donations
*Participate in annual special events like Thanksgiving or holiday food collections

Click HERE for more information on volunteering

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

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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.

LemonAiD Days is organized by the Salvation Army. Kids can 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 surprised 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!

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Gavin Carr is a child from Nicholasville who created this program after facing cancer. Gavin’s family helped him start Gavin’s Goodies to provide snacks to the children facing treatments at the UK Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Clinic. 

Snacks must be shelf stable, individually wrapped and within the expiration date. Popular items are cookies, crackers (cheese, peanut butter, animal etc), pretzels, granola bars, pop tarts, cereal bars, popcorn, chips, trail mix, fruit snacks, etc.

Snacks can be shipped to

Gavin’s Goodies
633 John Sutherland Dr
Nicholasville Ky 40356

Monetary donations can be sent to Gavin’s Goodies
C/O GO International
PO Box 123
Wilmore KY 40390
*Monetary donations are tax deductible. I’m sorry but we are unable to offer a tax receipt for snack donations. 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.

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.

Jarrett Mynear was a very special 13-year-old boy who lived in the central Kentucky community of Nicholasville with his mom, Jennifer, his dad, Doug, and younger sister, Claire. He was interested in those things enjoyed by kids his age – playing with friends, video games, swimming and going on vacation.

The thing that made Jarrett a little different from most kids was that he was diagnosed with cancer six times from two years old until he succumbed to the disease at age 13. As a result of his treatment and rehabilitation, Jarrett spent a lot of time in hospitals receiving chemotherapy, two bone marrow transplants and the amputation of his lower right leg. His treatments were administered at various medical institutions including the Mayo Clinic, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Kentucky Children’s Hospital and the National Institutes of Health.

When first diagnosed, a family friend told Doug and Jennifer to “look for the good in this bad situation.” Though that statement may seem a little odd, Doug and Jennifer discovered a number of special friends that the family met from across the country. It was because of these friends and Jarrett’s compassion for others that Jarrett decided to start Jarrett’s Joy Cart.  The Joy Cart collects toy donations from community members to share with children who are patients at local hospitals.

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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 families 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

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Project Linus collects blankets locally and they are 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.


*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

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