Giving Back in Our Community
We can all agree that we are fortunate to live in communities around Boston that are family oriented and rich with opportunities for ourselves and our children. Still, it is important to acknowledge that many local residents are in need, whether it is a family relying on the food pantry at the Needham Community Council or children at the Walker School in need of holiday gifts. In this time of year as we make shopping lists and plan celebrations, it is the perfect time to reach out to others in a large or small way. Perhaps this winter, your playgroup or neighborhood could host a ‘drive’ on a larger scale, but at the very least, you may have some things at home that could be put to better use by one of the organizations below.
Our Parent Talk playgroup participated in Holiday Gift Bags through the Needham Community Council. We supplied white paper bags and decorating supplies as an activity for the kids and we each brought small items, such as specialty tea and hand lotion, from a list provided by the council. These bags will be delivered to elderly community members this holiday season.
If you would like to donate to the Needham Community Council, consider bringing in non-perishable goods to the food pantry or dropping off clothing and household items to their thrift store. The thrift store is open to everyone and can be a fun place to shop! All proceeds benefit the Needham Community Council and their many outreach programs. For more details and drop-off hours, click here.
Another wonderful organization in our community is Circle of Hope. Unlike the thrift store at the Needham Community Council, they serve a specific population of homeless residents and those who are struggling to attain housing security. They accept clothing and household goods but also seek items for babies and young children. All donations are sorted and delivered to people in need. If you would like to give to them, read here for more information.
A third option for giving and volunteering is A Room to Grow in Boston. They only accept nearly new and new articles of clothing, books and gear for babies and young children. These items are given to impoverished families who have been connected with the organization through a social worker. If you would like to host a drive to collect items for them, email email@example.com. This would be another great playgroup effort! Read more about them here.
Lastly, The Walker School in Needham is running their annual Wishes Holiday Toy Drive. Walker serves troubled children by educating them and their families and offering mental health services. They are requesting new, unwrapped toys or hats/gloves, pajamas or slippers, appropriate for children between the ages of 3 and 14. Please get your gift to them no later than December 16th! For more information, visit this website.
It can be hard to know how to explain to young children that there are people who do not have enough to eat or the clothing that they need. Only you can decide if your child is old enough or to what degree you wish to educate them on this topic. At some point, it is a valuable experience to involve children in giving as a family. Perhaps a simple explanation for now and allowing your child to choose a few extra canned goods at the grocery store that someone else might like to eat, then dropping it off together. With my toddlers, I plan to deliver cookies to two elderly people in our neighborhood and maybe sing a round of Jingle Bells!
About the author:
Liza d’Hemecourt lives in Needham with her husband and two toddlers. She went to Boston College for theater and education and formerly taught kindergarten and first grade. Liza enjoys singing and playing with her children and spending time with other moms.