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Ideas for community service projects?


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Kids are in 4H and this coming year DS13 is in leadership/was elected treasurer. He needs to come up with some ideas for community service projects that he can suggest at his upcoming yearly planning meeting. They usually do 1 longer one and then some smaller one time projects. They need to be secular and something that would not require lots of travel preferred. This is an all homeschool group, so we could do some things during the day.

Examples of things they did last year: Collect stuff for animal shelter, sew pillows for breast cancer patients, collected goods for food pantry, a book drive, sew lovies for NICU babies, etc.


Ideas he has so far (some we need to call around and see if they are feasible):

1. Raise funds and do some sort of kiva microloan thing (maybe bake sale or the like outside local businesses). 

2. Put together backpacks for foster kids?? I read once about a lot of kids arrive with nothing and it's nice for them to have something of their own. 

3. I was thinking of back to school kits for low income?? Anyone know whom to contact?? What type of organization to look for?

4. Maybe something with a local senior center?? Not sure what, most of the centers around here are "commercialized" and have pros giving classes/running activities

5. something else hospital related? Make something for long term care centers?? We have 1 class a month that is arts & crafts, so they could make stuff in that.


I know the kids enjoy more hands on type service projects. Like collecting stuff for the animal shelter and books, etc.

Any ideas?

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Cards for kids in the hospital:



Make cute paper placemats for a nursing home, soup kitchen or other place serving meals.


Park/trail clean up throughout the year. Keep track of number of bags collected.


See if your local homeless shelter needs bagged lunches made. Your group could raise money for the ingredients and then make the lunches.

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Volunteer at local road race - water stations, clean up, timer collection...


Trash clean up - local park or school


Food pantry - food drive or help with organizing, distribution


Provide lunch for a habitat for humanity crew (they're too young to really with a site)



Volunteer at a local back to school drive. Our community used to have one for local kids (target was disadvantaged) and kids could help set up, clean up, etc.

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Some of our local favorites:


Picking up trash/park clean up

Visiting veterans at the VA hospital

Serving food and playing with kids for summer free meals programs

Serving water/giving directions etc. at the county fair.

Collecting clothes, books, toys etc. for DCS "safe room". Also painting, cleaning, organizing, sorting for this.

If you have a color guard, they can serve at almost any public event with a flag ceremony/pledge of allegiance. 





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Homeless shelters often need school supplies for kids.


They could make blankets to donate to animal shelters:




If you have a children's hospital nearby, check to see if they would like toys and craft supplies for their patients. 


They could collect used crayons to recycle: http://thecrayoninitiative.org


I really like the backpacks for foster kids idea.

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As a regular volunteer at a children's hospital, here's my two cents: 


Whatever you do, clear it through the organization you intend to benefit first. In fact, call them and ask them if there is something they would like for you to do or items they routinely need donated. Some things simply aren't beneficial (we don't need another copy of Candyland) and you might be surprised at what is actually needed. For example, we regularly need new underwear donations - not something most people think of when they think of donating to a children's hospital, but your local children's hospital might not need underwear donations. We also need small craft kits to keep patients of all ages busy. We are fine with watercolor paints in a patients' room, but other hospitals may not want that. If you gave us glitter pens or glitter, we would throw it away - there's no way we have the time to clean that up and we also don't have the time to find another organization to use it. This is why I recommend calling ahead. 


To find out what a children's hospital needs, contact the Child Life Department. 

To find out what a long term care facility needs, contact the Activities Director. Long term care facilities include nursing homes, rehab hospitals and assisted living facilities. 

To find out what a hospital as a whole needs, call the main number and ask for the department that manages donations. In our hospital, it is volunteer services. In other hospitals, it may be the foundation office or case management. 


Also, consider mental health hospitals. They sometimes need games for the patients to play or art supplies. Many patients are there over the holidays and would also appreciate a gift, but you need to find out if this is appropriate and what is appropriate to give. For example, makeup might be appreciated by teen and adult patients, but products with mirrors may not be allowed due to the risk of self-harm. You could contact a recreational therapist there to find out. 


Please do not assume you can just "visit" the patient in any hospital. Arrangements must be made in advance and there must be a specific purpose for the visit. It is dangerous for us to have people we don't know wandering in and out of patient rooms. If you have a group that wants to come sing Christmas Carols, we might be able to work that out. But, if you just want to come and hang out with the kids, no, I'm sorry, we can't do that. At our hospital, group crafts are hard to do because the patient mix changes daily and some kids can't come out of their rooms at all. We don't schedule groups to visit during flu season, for obvious reasons. 

Edited by TechWife
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For the books maybe there is a learning center or poor public school or somewhere that would appreciate donations. I know in my state some of the public school libraries are pitiful.


As for hospital, last time we took dd to a doctor (pediatric ophthalmologist) the waiting room was pretty sparse. We wondered if that was intentional or not. I don't know if they would appreciate donations for a waiting room.

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At our local Ronald McDonald house we have had groups:  bring meals for the freezer, cook meals on site for families, have parties for the families, and do various projects like painting or gardening.  We have found them to be one of the best sources for intergenerational projects and a place that has allowed younger people to volunteer.


Our local food bank maintains a garden and has some gardening projects--some that last a day and some that are longer.

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Contact your local children's hospital to see how your children can serve during Childhood Cancer Awareness month in September.


The group could also organize a head shaving event to raise awareness and money for childhood cancer. https://www.stbaldricks.org/

We organized an event two years ago, and one 10yr old raised over $2000!


This could be such a learning experience for your kids. Childhood cancer kills more kids every year than any other childhood illness, yet federal money for research for cures totals only 4% of the funds allocated for cancer research from the federal government. Most funds for research come from private donations. I will get very personal and tell you my son is alive today because of the research done by doctors who received grants through St. Baldricks.


So, just an idea!

Edited by Homebody2
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Here's another idea I saw recently for a project where kids make hygiene kits for kids. https://projectcure.org/programs/kits-kids

Here's the information from the website:



Our Kits for Kids provide personal hygiene and basic "medicine cabinet" items that are scarce in the developing world. If a child gets hurt, families might have to travel a long distance by bicycle, bus or even on foot to receive care at the nearest hospital or medical clinic. Working with pediatricians and nurses, Project C.U.R.E. developed Kits for Kids to give parents in developing countries the supplies they need to provide basic care at home. A bar of soap encourages handwashing, too. Kits for Kids is a great service learning project or family activity!

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