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Service project starts holidays season right

Posted by on November 19, 2012 – 12:45 pm

Last week, I wrote a column for the Tribune’s Money page about holiday spending anxiety.
A reader commented that teaching kids about service leads to appreciation.
I know the reader didn’t realize this, but just that morning, my kids and I embarked on – what I hope will be – the first of several service projects this holiday season.
It started a few weeks ago I when I visited Tempe’s Gethsemane Lutheran School. While I was there, the principal had an Operation Christmas Child box on his table. I asked if my kids and I could participate in the event.
Of course, he said, handing me the box.
Last week, my 7-year-old daughter and I began filling the box for a 5 to 9 year old boy. She had a lot of fun picking out toys, hygiene items, colors and markers.
So much fun, in fact, that she wanted to do a box for a girl. We loaded the car and, Thursday morning, we hit Target. My 10-year-old son felt the boy needed a few more items (paper and underwear) and my daughter picked out items for the girl. Then we drove to the school.
The school had quite the production going as children filled more boxes with coloring books, candy, stickers, pencils and more.
My son jumped right in. We talked about where the boxes would be going, why the children may not receive other presents and how they live (some without electricity or in a boxes or mud homes).
I’m hoping to find one project a week the kids can get involved in – from packing food at Tempe’s Feed My Starving Children to donating toys for their own school’s service project.
Already, I can tell it’s making a difference in their thoughts about Christmas. Perhaps next year, we’ll get started before Thanksgiving and serve year-round.

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