Goodwill to All: The Season of Giving Back

urlHannukah started last night. But before we started the spoiling, we started a new holiday tradition. Every year before the gifts come in, the unwanted and unused toys go out. I explained to Jed that there are children who don’t have toys and that if he has some he’s not playing with anymore, we should give them to those who don’t have any.

He’s three, so I wasn’t sure how this was going to go over, but he was very enthusiastic about going through his toys and giving old ones to “the babies.” Today, he’s going to come with me when we drop them off at Goodwill. And with eight nights of Hannukah, I decided eight presents from us plus a gaggle of gifts from relatives was an awful lot. So I’m starting a new tradition: one night of Hannukah will a “give” night instead of a “get” night. We will choose a charity and give a gift to help others. Since he’s three, I want to pick something that he will understand.

One friend said they donate to the World Wildlife Fund. They do “symbolic adoptions” where you can adopt an endangered species for $50. In return, you get a plush animal, photo, gift bag and card that has the species and adoption information.

I’m a fan of Heifer International, where you donate actual animals to poor countries. For only $20, you can give a flock of ducks to a family in an underdeveloped country. The family can then use the flock for food, make money selling eggs, and better their crops (ducks get rid of weeds).

This year, though, I’ve decided to keep it local. We are going to make an in-kind donation to the Mission Children’s Hospital. I’m going to have Jed help me pick out a new toy to give to a child his age who’s sick in the hospital. I will explain that it will make his stay in the hospital, which can be scary, a little better.

Here’s an interesting article I found on Moneywatch about teaching your kids to give.

How do you teach your children about giving? What are your favorite charities?

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