August Is National Family Fun Month 08/27/12
Community Service = Free Family Fun
America’s economic woes have touched most every aspect of family life, especially our entertainment budgets. But rather than settle for another afternoon of television reruns or video games, families across the country are finding a new, practically free way to bond while having fun together – volunteering. Pitching in for local charities offers parents the chance to spend quality time with kids … without spending through limited family funds. And since August Is National Family Fun Month, here are some ideas for cool service projects families can tackle.
Andy Kimpel found volunteering at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida so rewarding that he got his wife, Leslie, and children, Alex and Alyssa, into the act. Over the years, the family has had fun picking vegetables, sorting food in the warehouse and collecting donations at various events. Logging volunteer hours together not only benefits fellow families, it has showed Alex and Alyssa the value of serving others.
“Volunteering at Second Harvest Food Bank is our way of changing the world. How many family activities create such a positive impact on the community as this?” says Andy. “And along the way, we’re making lasting family memories … like eating Zellwood sweet corn right off the stalk and laughing about cans of pasta from the 1980’s we found in a donation bin.”
Donating gently used clothes, toys and household items to groups such as Goodwill is another way for families to have a good time for a good cause. Parents can throw a “Declutter Dance” and bop to high-energy music as they help kids clear out closets, bedrooms and playrooms. After taking contributions to collection centers, families can award simple or silly prizes to the kid with the most donations, heaviest item or even the wackiest piece of clothing.
“When Goodwill sells items families donate, the revenue helps fund our job training programs and community-based services,” says Judith Pariseau of Goodwill Industries of Central Florida, Inc. “We transform families’ donations into assistance for people with disabilities and others facing employment challenges.”
Furthermore, parents and teens over the age of 16 have the chance to build relationships while building homes for low income families through Habitat for Humanity. Working side-by-side on construction sites, parents and kids can learn handy skills while helping others. Parents can check the group’s website for local building sites, available volunteer days and waivers necessary for kids’ participation.
“Families love volunteering with us because construction offers a fun, unusual way to break out of their everyday routine and enjoy the positive results of their cooperative work,” says Jennifer Gallagher of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando Area. “And of course, families feel great knowing they’re lending a hand to another family in their community.”
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