Teaching Kids to Give Back


I’m not financially wealthy by any means. In fact, when we bought our house two months ago, I joked that we would be on a budget, a Ramen Noodle every night kind of budget. However, I am wealthy in many other ways. Although my family has had more than their share of illness, we are all fairly healthy. I have awesome children who work hard at school and everything they do. I have very supportive parents and brothers (and their wives). My two nieces and two nephews are awesome and unique in their own ways. I am very close to my extended family as well. I have great friends.  I have a warm house to go home to everyday. We have winter coats, hats and gloves, a plethora of clothes and pretty much anything else we could possibly need. Although it might be Ramen Noodles, we have a hot meal every night.  I think I’m pretty wealthy.

My commute home used to require me to pass the Hosea House in Newport every night. As I would drive by, I would see the people lined up outside in the rain or freezing cold with no coats, hats or gloves waiting to be served dinner. It broke my heart. My daughter and I have also worked out this kitchen serving food. A was very humbled when she saw the children walk in not dressed for the weather and starving.

So last year my children and I decided to do something about it. We bought tons of hats and gloves and drop them off at the kitchen. The workers were so incredibly grateful. That spring we took ponchos for the homeless men. Again, everyone was grateful.

On Tuesday I called the director and asked her if they had a need this year. She was so happy I called. She said she was just saying how much she needed hats and gloves for the children and was hopeful someone would provide. So my children and I headed to Target where we knew we could buy 2 pairs of gloves for $1 and hats for $1. The baby items included a pair of gloves and a hat for $2.10. We ended up purchasing about 45 pairs of gloves and 25 hats. My children each gave money of their own toward this purchase. We dropped the items off and once again they were very grateful.

I believe it is extremely important to teach our children how lucky they are. My kids cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to not know where their next meal is coming from, not have a hat and gloves to wear to school and maybe not even have a home. Taking them to the Hosea House to donate items and work teaches them to be empathetic of others and appreciate what they have.

Do you teach your kids to give back? What types of projects do you do? I put a list of places in Northern Kentucky that typically need volunteers or donations in case you are interested in doing something. Feel free to add to the list.

Hosea House – 9th & York, Newport – 261-5857

Brighton Center – 741 Central Ave.,  Newport, KY 41071 – 491-8303

Welcome House – 205 Pike Street,  Covington, KY 41011 – 431-8717

Covington Cold Shelter – 634 Scott St, Covington, KY 41011 – 291-4555

Vietnam Vets – 1-800-535-3834

Fairhaven Rescue Mission – 260 Pike Street, Covington – 491-1027

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6 thoughts on “Teaching Kids to Give Back

  1. Every year my dad collects toys for Jarrett’s Joy Cart to give to children in the hospital. My kids love going to the store to pick out the toys to give. They think long and hard about what a child in that situation would want. My kids are very lucky to have never been seriously ill but they know that not everyone is that lucky and that something as simple as a toy can make things a little bit better.

    Jarrett’s Joy is an amazing charity started by an amazing little boy. I am fortunate enough to know his wonderful family and to see them continue to carry on his legacy is aweinspiring. To read about Jarrett, his family and the Joy Cart go to http://www.joycart.com. They are based in Lexington but if you would like to donate I am sure my pops would be happy to help out. He’s Mr. Guy at First Church of Christ in Burlington or gjones@1stchurchofchrist.org.

  2. Yes, yes, yes! It is so important to teach our children these lessons. My son just turned 4 and I have not hesitated to begin talking to him about such things. Since he is now so much more aware of ‘holidays’ that bring him presents and goodies, I want him to understand how important it is to think about others who don’t have such luxuries. This year, with every “I want that” he shouts out, I’m telling him that we have to go through his toys, etc. to pick out at least 5 things he doesn’t play with anymore or can part with in order to give to kids who don’t have nearly as much. I tell him some children out there don’t have the things they NEED so they don’t really have the option of asking for things they WANT. Over the past several years I have headed up or been involved in many Christmas drives in the restaurants I’ve worked in to aid certain charities and groups, and even individual families. It never ceased to amaze me how even the youngest of kids would almost always ask for necessities. As you said Gina, hats, gloves & coats, socks & shoes that don’t have holes in them, toiletries, things that most of us have in excess and so take for granted. I will not allow my son to grow up to be an uncaring teenager and adult, there are enough of those people in this world, and that is a never-ending responsibility. One local place that I usually donate to is Lifeline Ministries on Dixie Hwy in Erlanger. I like them because they don’t require pay stubs or proof of need or re-sell anything. If you have a need, they simply do whatever they can to help, no questions asked, and I can feel good about donating there. Their website is http://www.lifelineofnky.org. Happy Holidays!

  3. Yes, we teach Phillip to give back…he helps me at the Rose Garden Mission when he’s off school and during the summer. His boyscout troop also helps those in need… It lets him realize how lucky we are to have a frig and pantry full of food that we don’t have to stand in line to get a bag of food. It also teaches the power of prayer too because when the sisters run out of food..they pray for more to be delivered. Miracles happen there often….God provides the food. Also we donate toys every year to their Christmas give away and Phillip has even used his own money to pick out a toy that would be appropriate for a boy his own age..he enjoyed putting it in the bag and handing it to the boy himself.

  4. The Rose Garden Home Mission is 2040 Madison Avenue in Covington..they are open Mon-Thursday 11AM-4PM to hand out bags of food, diapers, and children’s clothes. They will only give diapers, and children’s clothing to registered mothers. Only the mother may receive the items too. Anyone in line will get a bag of food whatever they have. The mission operates on food donations mostly canned goods and breads. They are not a soup kitchen so can not make or hand out prepared foods. They do take donations of children’s clothing newborn-age 6, diapers, wipes, and formula. To reach someone at the mission regarding volunteering or donating call 491-Rose. Check out their website too
    http://www.exclusivesoftware.com/RoseGardenMission/RoseGarden/default.html

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