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Spend time teaching children the spirit of giving

The holidays are known as a time of giving. And it does seem that people are in a spirit of giving during the holidays.

Giving doesn't just mean buying a child the most sought-after toy of the season. Use the holidays to teach your children how to give to the community and to individuals.

We want to instill in our children that service and giving of oneself should be a part of daily life, teaching service to others and giving to those in need.

This type of service lets parents talk to their children about things besides Christmas lists and what they'd like to do over the holidays.

One of the greatest gifts that a parent can give a child is time together doing something for others. Time spent serving the community provides parents with opportunities to discuss many important issues.

Opportunities to give are not limited to soup kitchens. If you're looking for a way to give back to your community, these organizations tend to have programs for the holidays.

Department of Family and Children Services offices are found in each county. They often have organizations that come to them for help.

Civic groups often need volunteer help with their holiday programs.

Toys for Tots, Toys for Teens and the Salvation Army: These organizations accept new items or something that's gently used. When giving used toys, make sure that they are whole, not missing pieces and not broken.

Bill funds: Sometimes there are funds set up for paying people's bills. These are ideal for monetary contributions.

Food banks or homeless shelters: Ask them what kind of items they need this time of year. You don't want to take perishables, and you want to make sure that what you're giving is what you would use.

When giving to a homeless shelter, consider blankets; toiletries, such as deodorant, soap and toothpaste; and a backpack. Consider filling the backpack with those things that an individual can use throughout the year, such as first aid kits, pens and paper, undergarments and other personal items.

Remember, not all homeless people are adults. Diapers and baby food are needed for the little ones.

There are about 2 million homeless people in the United States; they are men, women and children.

Giving should not be limited to the holidays.

The holiday season is only a portion of the year. Others need our help and care the rest of the year, too.

Have a safe and blessed holiday season!

Web posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

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