By Jill “MamaBug” Frier

This time of the year, we stop to reflect on all the things that make us thankful. A roof over our head when so many are homeless, food in our stomachs when so many go hungry, and the love of friends and family when so many are alone. As parents, it’s so important to pass on our values to our children, and help them understand why we should be thankful for what we have, even when life has difficulties. There are many ways to encourage your kids to be thankful, but one of the best ways to show them why is by giving back to others who are in need.

Here are some ways that you and your family can embrace the spirit of giving thanks and give back to people who are less fortunate than you.
Donations and Giving
It’s important for kids to feel like they are helping when you talk about giving back and being thankful. One way they can help is by donating old books, toys and clothes, and by helping you give items to people less fortunate than you. Let your kids help you pick out the items to donate and pack them up, then take them with you to drop off the donated items.

Here are a few organizations that collect special holiday donations in the Valley:
• Salvation Army Christmas Angels
• Toys for Tots
• Food Banks and collection boxes at grocery stores

You can set an example of generosity for your kids by taking time to volunteer with organizations that help others. Donating your time is a great way to actively demonstrate how it feels to help people in need, and will let kids gain a sense of pride that they are helping out.

Here are a few suggestions for places to volunteer your time:
• Local Food Banks
• Nearby nursing homes and retirement communities
• Community clean-up activities
• Homeless shelters
• Local churches

Participating in Events and Fundraisers
Another great way to get kids involved is to participate in charitable events and fundraisers as a family. Non-profit organizations hold walks, fundraisers, and events to raise money for charities all year long. There are really too many events to list here, but you can easily search by organization, date, or cause to find the activities that will work best for your family. Consider cause, distance, cost or fundraising requirements, time of day, and the day of the week when you do your research.

There are endless ways to give back and tons of places in the Valley of the Sun that need your help. Do your homework, get your kids involved, and make it a point to give back and be thankful this year. We at Ladybug’s Blog ( are sincerely thankful for you, our readers, and for the opportunity to share information and tips for doing great activities with your kids all year round here in the great state of Arizona!