Raising Charitable Kids- Our Own Adventures in Giving
By: Allie Cole
We are a charitable family. We have given to many charities over the years, but the most rewarding of times have been when we donate to local causes, places that service those in need within our OWN community. Being a young, busy family, we don’t have a lot of time to serve, but we donate money and goods to local shelters, churches, and charitable groups when we are able. I have found that the more interactive the act of giving is for our children, the more lessons they learn. Although writing and sending a donation check is wonderful, actually bringing needed items like socks and toothbrushes to the shelter leaves a much broader impression on our children. They can see and meet the people they are directly helping and it’s wonderful!
Our latest adventure in giving became a big family project-
One of our favorite local charities is Hope Cottage, a Christian organization that helps local women and children in need. Their motto is: “to provide a loving and accountable environment of grace”. As part of the Sunshine Rescue Mission, they have “rescued lives from the streets, created an environment of healthy restoration from addictions and traumas, and provided opportunities to re-engage back into our community through volunteerism, mentoring and job training.” I have personally heard lots of stories of how this wonderful local organization has changed lives for the better and our family will always support places like that.
In my own profession as a nurse, I have helped countless children and families through hospital work, but with our donations to Hope Cottage and other charities, our whole family can help others who may be struggling. Not only does Hope Cottage provide a place to stay and services to help women and children improve their lives, they also provide food and clothing. This is where our big family project came in….
With three young children in our family, we have accumulated a lot of kid clothes. We have clothes we purchased new, clothes given to us as gifts, along with hand-me-downs from friends and family. Through the years, our children have always enjoyed passing clothes along to other friends, but we recently decided instead to give them to children truly in need. I had saved clothes from 10 years of child rearing, from infant all the way up. The job of our kids now was to go through all the clothes, find the ones in perfect condition, wash them again, and then fold and organize them into age groups. Once organized, we could carefully place them into large age-labeled plastic tubs so Hope Cottage could safely store them. Our intended donation was to be so large that Sharon Rose, the director of Hope Cottage, decided it best to share the clothes with Hope Pregnancy Center and The Garden Thrift Store to reach and assist even more Flagstaff citizens. We were delighted to hear that news!
This project ended up being a lot of fun too! As we prepared and organized all the clothing, we shared a lot of stories and funny moments. Our three children smiledand giggled asthey reminisced about their most treasured items and when they wore them. They delightfully talked about other children loving the clothes as much as they did and about the new memories the clothing could inspire. I shared stories about all the people who helped us when we needed it most. Having a young family with our children so close together in age while working full-time was always a challenge, but we had friends and family help us by buying and sharing a lot of the clothes we were now so lovingly preparing for others. Families helping other families…. We had several days full of joy and meaningful conversations about serving others and how everyone, even kids as young as them, can make a real difference!
On our donation days, we left a bit exhausted, but grateful. We were grateful to be able to help, grateful to have blessings to share. As we climbed into our car on those days, we said small prayers together. We prayed that anytime a parent or child in need opened a drawer and reached in for a new piece of clothing, that they felt loved. Because no matter their circumstances in that moment, those families are loved, appreciated and valued. We hope the children and their families know that people out in their own community are thinking of them. We are praying for them.
Thank you for reading our story. If you are able, please consider donating some of your own resources or time to charities you hold dear. There are many who need help and plenty of opportunities for you to have your own adventures in giving.
Meet the Guest Writer
Allie Cole and her family moved from Texas to Flagstaff in the summer of 2015. Previously working as a NICU nurse and lactation counselor, Allie provided an interesting combination of high-tech and natural nursing care to infants and children. Now here in Flagstaff, she is a nurse helping local special needs children in their homes. Allie’s been married to her college sweetheart Patrick, a surgeon, over 17 years and they have 3 small children.