What is Philanthropy

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Several of Travis’s subscriptions focused on philanthropy this December, and I was glad of it. I’m hoping to instill in him the idea of giving back: all year, but during the holidays in particular.

First up was this month’s Gallant Challenge in Highlights magazine. Two boys built a “Box of Blessings”, a wooden box outside their home that acted as a food pantry. Those who needed items could take them, and neighbors helped replenish it. We loved the idea, but don’t currently have the ability to build and mount a box.

Luckily, it tied in perfectly with a lesson from Raddish Kids to accompany the Corn Muffins we baked around Thanksgiving.

Start off with a read-through of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. As we read, I had snacks ready to go: apples and oranges to mimic the foods the caterpillar was nibbling. If you like, have even more of the caterpillar’s food items ready for snacking!

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Once the story ended, I asked Travis how the caterpillar felt at the beginning. Travis pinpointed his hunger, and we discussed times that he has felt hungry (like after school when he’s hangry for snack!). It helped him imagine what it might be like to feel hungry but not have access to food once home.

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With older kids, you can delve deeper into the idea of food security here, and reasons some families might not have it: illness, unemployment, old age. I tread lightly over all that with a kindergartner, but talked instead about how we can help: donating food to those who might need it.

Open Table in particular offers the option for Kids’ Bags. Travis and I went over the list of suggested groceries together and purchased the materials to stuff a few bags for our local drop-off center.

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Have fun decorating these! Travis then proudly filled them, assembly-line style, with items like juice boxes and packaged snacks.

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We finished by reading a few additional books including Beatrice’s Goat by Paige McBrier and One Potato, Two Potato by Cynthia DeFelice.

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Another great philanthropy project for even young kids is toy donation, especially just before the holidays. How do your children participate in charity? Please share in the comments!

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