Life is busy. But I don't have to tell you that. In all the hustle and bustle of daily living, sometimes busy parents forget the importance of acts of service. In order to become a full human being, children should be exposed to serving others at a very early age.
Ideally, acts of service will just be something your family does. They are part of life, not special occasions. While a once yearly act of service is not something to ignore and can be instrumental in someone or something's life, it is certainly more beneficial to your child to see serving others as a way of life. It is something we do as part of the circle of humanity.
It can be hard to think of interesting and practical ways to serve others on an ongoing basis. It can be especially difficult to find one or two things that include everyone in your family, especially when you have children of varying ages.
Below you will find a list of 50 possible family friendly community service ideas. Hopefully you can include one or more in your family's normal routine.
Service Projects That Benefit The Environment
1. Plant a garden or tree where the whole neighborhood can enjoy it.
2. Pick weeds and clear debris and litter from common neighborhood areas.
3. If you do not have mandatory recycling, collect recyclables as a family.
4. Facilitate a seed or a plant exchange in your neighborhood. Young children can help deliver seeds and plants while older children can help with the gardening.
5. Make bird feeders for public places and keep them stocked with bird seed.
6. Collect old phone books in your neighborhood for recycling.
7. Clean up trash along a river or in a park.
8. Create a habitat for wildlife. For example, owls love nesting boxes. Build one as a family and position it in an area where owls typically reside.
9. Collect aluminum cans from friends, family, and neighbors and donate the money to a favorite environmental charity.
10. Volunteer to separate recyclables.
11. If you see a tree that's in trouble, try to save it. Find out what's wrong with it and how to make it better.
12. Pick up litter in a designated area monthly.
Service Projects That Benefit Seniors
13. Adopt a “grandfriend” and make regularly scheduled visits just to offer company.
14. Visit a nursing home.
15. Rake leaves, shovel snow, clean gutter or wash windows for a senior citizen.
16. Pick up medicine for an elderly person.
17. During bad weather, visit seniors to make sure they have everything they need.
18. Go for a daily or weekly walk with a senior citizen.
19. Deliver meals to homebound individuals.
20. Offer to pick up groceries with/for a senior citizen.
21. Teach a senior friend how to use a computer or the Internet or help them with anything they may need to use the computer for.
22. Take a pet to a nursing home.
23. Do art projects with people in nursing homes.
24. Offer to read to people in a nursing home.
25. Write letters to people in a nursing home, if you can't go and visit.
Service Projects That Benefit Animals
26. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Help clean up, play with the animals, or do whatever's needed.
27. Become a foster family for a shelter or rescue group.
28. Become a caretaker for a feral colony of cats.
29. Raise a dog for persons with disabilities.
30. Do pet therapy with your animal at nursing homes and day care centers.
31. Collect and sort newspapers to donate to a local animal shelter.
32. Collect food and supplies needed for a local zoo, animal shelter or food bank.
33. Adopt a Zoo Animal.
34. Volunteer at a local wildlife sanctuary or survival center.
Service Projects That Benefit Homeless or Struggling Community Members
35. Help cook and/or serve a meal at homeless shelter.
36. Alter and repair clothes for the needy.
37. Gather clothing from your neighbor and donate it to a local shelter.
38. Make care kits with combs, toothbrushes, shampoo, etc. for homeless people.
39. Bake bread and deliver to the hungry or homeless.
40. Help with repairs at a local homeless shelter.
41. Donate art supplies to kids in a homeless shelter.
42. Make a care package with mittens, socks, T-shirts, etc. for a child at a homeless shelter.
43. Clip and collect coupons and give them at your local food pantry or homeless shelter.
44. Pack and hand out food at a food bank.
45. Create a space in your garden specifically for growing produce to donate to a food bank.
46. Prepare a home-cooked meal for the residents of a nearby homeless shelter.
47. Bake a batch of muffins and deliver them to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
48. Assist with sorting and organizing items donated to a homeless shelter.
49. Assist in a shelter day-care room, taking care of children while parents look for jobs.
50. Make first aid kits for homeless shelters.
There are hundreds of other ways in which you can help others. How does your family incorporate service into your family life?