The Holidays are a special time of the year. It's a time of endless festivities: family gatherings to share love and laughter and enjoy generous meals, corporate parties and events, attending unforgettable holiday productions performed by our children, and for more many of us, it also includes exchanging special gifts with our friends and loved ones. But for some, the holidays can be a challenging time. In our communities and around the world, there are children and families who could use a little holiday cheer. This holiday season, make it unforgettable, by giving a needy family and child the priceless gift of hope, love, warmth and a smile. Make a difference this holiday season. Here are a few great ways to start.
Make A Child Smile Organization
For the price of a stamp, YOU can make a child smile. The Make A Child Smile Organization (MACS) founded in 1998 by Alexandra Bakker has brought hope, smiles and words of encouragement to a number of children with life threatening illnesses all across the United States. You can bring a smile to a child's face by sending a card or a small gift to the Featured Kids of the Month on their website. The MACS website includes their courageous stories and pictures, along with an address to send your card. Each child's courageous story will touch your heart and speak to your soul. You'll want to reach out and hug each and every one of them. You're surely going to fall in love with their smiles. And it's their wonderful smiles we want to keep up and going.
We just received the most precious gift ever! We heard the news that our post on this organization has INSPIRED an entire school in China to make and send cards to the children featured on the MACS website. This is a prime inspirational example of how No One is too small to make a difference! Children helping children is a beautiful thing.
Volunteer at your Local Church or Community Center
Because "it takes a village to raise a child" (African proverb), you can make a profound difference in your own community by volunteering at a local church, club or center. Most places have an after school or weekly event just for kids. Events like these keep our children in a healthy environment while their parents are still at work and keep them out of trouble.
We recently had the pleasure of spending an evening with people with hearts of gold. A local church holds a weekly Friday Night Kid's Club event. And Every Friday night, the kids in the community are invited to have dinner and dessert, provided by volunteers, and participate in arts and crafts projects. Along with our cousins, we made enchilada casseroles, rice and 5 dozen frosted cupcakes. We had a wonderful time and dinner was delicious! Then again, anything made with LOVE is always good. It filled our hearts to see the children enjoy dinner and devour the cupcakes.
We can donate our time, our talents and hobbies by teaching the children something new, maybe even do story time or play a game. We can also donate to such events by providing materials for art projects, DVDs for movie nights or fresh baked cookies for dessert. Whatever we do will surely bring a smile to a child's face.
This wonderful organization has pledged to provide quilts for children all over the world who are in need due to poverty and natural disasters. Each quilt is made with love and provides warmth to thousands of children world wide. There goal is to help children stay warm and to show we care by wrapping them in quilts. Since July of 2008, Kidz Quiltz, has provided over 2,000 warm quilts for children to wrap themselves in. We can help by providing batting fabric-cotton or cotton blends, flannel, thread, yarn and donations. If you're in Colorado (United States), you can also volunteer your quilt-making expertise at there center or send a special quilt you have made to the address provided on their website. Give a gift of warmth this holiday season and embrace a child with a beautiful quilt.
Since 1936, Children International has helped over a million children and families all around the world who are struggling in terrible poverty. We can partake in an incredible movement to end child poverty. Through their sponsorship program, which is currently serving over 300,000 children in 11 countries, for less than most of us spend on our magazine subscriptions and gym memberships, we can help children receive life-changing assistance. For as little as $22/month, your sponsorship will provide clothing, medical care, educational support, youth program, dental care, nutritional aid and family assistance. Thousands of very poor children are waiting for someone to give them a sign of hope. We can accomplish this one child at a time.
Great American Bake Sale
It's time to roll up our sleeves and put an end to childhood hunger Today! We can make a difference in a child's life right from our own kitchens. As one of the wealthiest nations in the world, there is no reason for any child to grow up hungry. Yet, there is 1 in 6 children who are at risk of hunger. That's 12 million children in America. We can do our part in reducing and eliminating this number by coordinating bake sales throughout our communities. Get local restaurants, your place of worship, schools, clubs and groups involved for a fun filled day of sweets and generosity. Proceeds from the sale of our goodies will help open more meal sites for low-income children across the nation, provide equipment and utensils to serve their food, and pay for outreach to inform parents about the availability of free meals.
Many of these wonderfully generous activities can involve our children. We'll not only be teaching them an incredible life-lesson, but also inspiring gratitude. They'll learn the true meaning and joys of giving back and how No One is too small to make a difference. Whether you'll be sending a card with a smile, sharing story time with the kids in your neighborhood, putting love into making a quilt, sponsoring a child in a poverty stricken country or baking sweets and sensations for your bake sale, every bit of your time and generosity will positively affect a life of a child. You'll be bringing them hope, love, warmth, care and a smile. Such priceless gifts which will be cherished forever.
Let's do our part together in making a difference this holiday season and into 2009. Doing so will surely bring more into our lives, too. Cheers to a brighter future.
Hugo and Roxanne
~ Believe Achieve ~