Kids Making a Difference

April 13, 2016
by Dr. Peggy Marcus


Have you thought about volunteering with your kids? For many years, I loved the “idea” of doing community service as a family but could not put anything into action. I made all sort of excuses for why we were too busy and couldn’t set aside the time.  One day, my children were asking about homeless people and where they get their meals.  It was in that moment that I realized my lack of motivation could be potentially hurting my children and their outlook on the world.   Since having children, my volunteering had practically become non-existent, and I had not been setting a good example for them. I suddenly became energized to give back to my community but had no idea where to even begin!

After doing some research, I found a fabulous resource called Pebbletossers . This service program makes it easy to find fun, age appropriate projects for children and teens. It is easy to navigate and allows you to pick one project at a time or make longer commitments if that’s what you’re seeking.   Our first family project was making and delivering care packages for a local shelter for women.  We spent a morning putting together essentials, and then we got a tour of the facility when we delivered the packages. We have continued to use this website as a great resource for all types of community service projects. I highly recommend Pebbletossers to anyone who is trying to find a way to get their entire family involved in giving back to the community.

We were also interested in a long-term volunteer project we could do as a family, and a friend referred us Second Helpings (www.secondhelpingsatlanta.org ).  Second Helpings is responsible for countless volunteers driving surplus food from stores and restaurants across the city and delivering them to organizations that feed the hungry.  Each month, my family picks up 300 to 400 pounds of food from a local Trader Joes and delivers it to the Malachi Storehouse in Dunwoody (www.malachisstorehouse.org) .  Every week, the Malachi House provides those in need with a warm meal and the opportunity to “shop” for their weekly groceries.

My husband and I feel great that we are making a commitment to community service and are now leading our kids by example. The rewards have been countless, and it is a great reminder that we have much for which to be thankful. For example, my daughters are now constantly reminding people not to waste food. Sometimes they even take it a little too far, as one recently told me there is no reason to put spinach on her plate because that would be wasting! Nonetheless, they get the big picture. I am so glad my family took the plunge to start volunteering, and I hope this provides a good resource for anyone who has been interested in making a first step.

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