How Your Kids Can Support Our Troops
Growing up in America, it can be easy to take for granted all the freedoms we are provided with. This is especially true for young children who are not fully aware about the history of our nation and the sacrifices made by our soldiers. Helping your children to understand the bravery of our military through charity encourages selflessness and patriotism. Your Local Kids has compiled a list of suggestions and non-profit organizations right here on Long Island in both Suffolk County and Nassau County where your kids can help make a difference.
- Make Physical Donations
Having your kids make a sacrifice of their own can be a rewarding lesson. Help them to sort through their toys and choose one or more in good condition that they feel another kid would enjoy. Locate a facility that supports veterans, such as The Salvation Army and have them bring the toys there with you. Many children receive an excess of presents for Christmas, and you can suggest that they donate any unopened gifts to a charity such as Toys For Tots. Remember that in order to understand the concept of donating an item, your child has to feel like it belongs to them. Rather than forcing them to donate a toy, you can lead by example – and donate some unused items of your own.
- Sponsor a Food Drive
Most children truly enjoy having a project to work on – and what better purpose exists than helping those that are in need? Have your child take part in a food drive – whether it’s through another organization (possibly a school, sports team, or religious group) or independently run through a network of family or friends. Encourage them to make flyers to pass out to others, and educate them on ways they can get their friends involved. Ultimately, research locations that accept drop-offs for Veterans and their families. Island Harvest is one such Long Island based organization that has locations in both Mineola and Hauppauge.
- Help Make a Care Package
Explain to your children what a care package is and how necessary they are for our troops. Help them brainstorm suggestions of necessary items that would be included in one, and encourage them to explain why it would be needed away from home. Go shopping together and allow them to hand pick the items they suggested. Boots on the Ground NY has various drop-off locations, as well as a helpful wish list from soldiers.
- Send a Letter or Picture
Sending a letter or picture to a soldier or veteran is one of the more simple ways to help, as well as one of the most personal. This can be an educational and expressive activity for your child. Help them understand that soldiers get homesick and sad at times, and encourage them to think of ways to cheer them up or make them laugh. Jacob’s Light is a non-profit organization based on Long Island that can assist in delivering your child’s letter. It is important to explain to your child why they may not receive a letter back, and how important it is to do good things for others without expecting anything in return.
Fostering generosity in your children at a young age can be very beneficial to them developing a lifetime of compassion. For more great tips, stay up to date with Your Local Kids’ blog, and sign up for our newsletter.