Giving to charity

I was so proud of my daughter this week-end!  She decided to have a charity bake sale to raise money for Breast Cancer research. Truthfully, I’m not sure how or why she chose this particular charity, but I left that one up to her (when it comes right down to it, the most important thing is that she was giving to charity, so the charity itself was somewhat secondary, provided it meant something to her).

She was very excited about this event, but I also made it clear that pulling something together like this would require a fair amount of work and that she would need to be involved, even in the ‘not so fun’ activities. I also knew it would be a fair amount of work for me (my daughter is only nine, so would require some assistance, especially when it came to the baking). However, in addition to the altruistic benefits of this event, I thought it had great potential from a learning perspective (I definitely had other things to do with my time, but I was pretty sure the overall ‘return on investment’ of this bake sale was going to be higher) .

One of her tasks was to spend some time planning things out and making sure she had everything she needed (this is always more involved than you think, which she was soon to realize). From purchasing plates and napkins (pink, of course, in keeping with the breast cancer theme), creating signage and posters advertising the bake sale prior to and during the event, and deciding on a money box (she used a jewelry box so that she had separate compartments for bills and change), there was quite a bit to think about before the big day.

In addition to all the organizational tasks, there was also some baking to be done. She and I made a couple of items (my daughter is interested in baking, so I really tried to step back as much as possible and let her learn how to do as much as possible on her own). My daughter invited a friend of hers to help out on bake sale day, so she was bringing a couple of items as well (thank goodness!). Of course, the baking was fun, but I also insisted that my daughter help with the clean-up, which she did without complaint.

The day of the event, my daughter was so all revved up. She lucked out and it was a beautiful day, so there were a decent number of people out and about, enjoying the wonderful weather. Our neighbors were truly generous…ultimately buying up almost all of the baked goods and topping up what they owed with additional donations.

My daughter and her friend were thrilled with the results and so was I. They raised $120 for charity but they also learned many important life skills in the process. She pulled me aside when the sale was over and said very seriously, “Mom, that was a really good experience”, and I couldn’t agree more!  That night, she thanked me for all my help, which made it all worthwhile (what can I say…a little appreciation goes a long way)!

Is there something that your children could do for charity (e.g. Walk for Cancer, go door-to-door and collect canned goods for the Food Bank, buy a gift for a needy child at Christmas, etc.)?  I know that time is limited these days, but helping your children in their efforts to give to others, is a huge investment in their future (not to mention, the future of the world).

If you’re interested in teaching your children about generosity and gratitude, you might also wish to read my post on Saying thank-you.