Volunteering has always been a part of my adult life. I have played with orphaned cats, peddled veggies at farmer’s markets, taught kids to read, helped build a house, assisted at a veterinary office for homeless people’s pets and planted a garden.
I haven’t pitched in as much lately, but the holiday season made me want to make volunteering a regular part of Peeper’s life, too.
When I looked up volunteering opportunities on The United Way, I found only one event that was appropriate for toddlers, but unfortunately it was right during Peeper’s nap time. And no one wants an overtired toddler at a volunteer party, no matter how lofty your intentions.
We ended up recreating the do-gooder moment at a recent play date. All the kiddos made holiday cards to deliver to homebound seniors through Meals on Wheels. (We used this tutorial to make reindeer handprint cards.) I was thrilled with the activity because it’s something you can do on your own timetable, kids can participate at whatever level they want, and—most importantly—it makes the world a better place, if only by a little bit.
I had grand plans to drop off the cards at our local Meals on Wheels, but the errand got lost in the nuttiness of prepping to head cross-country for Christmas. Serendipitously, my mother-in-law delivers food with Meals on Wheels in Michigan several days a week, so we just brought the cards and she took them to her seniors.
She called us a few deliveries in because she just couldn’t contain herself. She told us about the grumpy man who has never said a word to her who suddenly smiled—and talked about how cute the card was. She told us about all the men and women who received not just a box of food but also a personal, heartwarming token.
Peeper will be too young to hammer nails or serve at a soup kitchen for quite a while yet, but she can make cards.
The great thing about this project is you can adapt the theme to any holiday and any time of year. (After all, people need cheering up every month!) Simply contact your local Meals on Wheels to make sure they accept cards, then make your own delivery whenever you’re able. I guarantee you’ll brighten someone’s day.