Family Service Project: Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina

Welcome to the November 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Service Projects

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about what service means in their families.

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I found a volunteer opportunity for my kids and I on a day I would NOT call my finest parenting  one to date. A better title of that day might be, “When I tried to guilt my ungrateful brats into realizing how lucky they are/back when I was their age I went to SCHOOL and had to do HOMEWORK and there was no NETFLIX or GOOGLE, dammit.”

Like I said, not my finest day.

I think Animal was complaining about not having something, like some new Wii game or a brand new XYZ. I was not thrilled to hear it. Instead of having a rational discussion with him — like a rational person would — I said, “You know, some kids don’t even have FOOD or a PLACE TO LIVE!”

This is, of course, true, but I wasn’t explaining it in a very kind, compassionate way. 

I even showed them a YouTube video (heartbreaking, of course), about hunger and poverty.

(Flickr: fmsc.org)

Finally I had a moment — a moment! — of clearheadedness, and I decided rather than guilt them, I’d look for something for us to DO about childhood hunger and poverty.

So we found the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

Food Bank provides emergency food for an estimated 545,000 different people annually in our 34 county service territory. About 73,000 different people receive emergency food assistance in any given week. 29% (more than 180,000) of those served by the Food Bank are children.

Food Bank CENC has kids day twice a month. These are specially designed programs for children to attend and help package food. Usually it’s pasta (huge bulk bags of it into smaller bags) using shovels (fun!) or separating eggs.

Volunteering with the Food Bank

Volunteering with the kids lends itself to discussion about childhood hunger and poverty. And gratitude for what we have. Truthfully, our finances are tight in this economy. Due to a paperwork snafu, our mortgage just went up. We do not have money for a lot of extras, like eating out or going to movies. But we always have food and a place to live, which is more than a lot of the kids who we are serving at Food Bank CENC.

Since beginning to volunteer there, I’ve become a Social Media Ambassador — meaning that I blog and tweet about the Food Bank CENC (I’m alerting them to this post) — and the kids and I have also volunteered at other events, like Stamp Out Hunger and Can Day at the State Fair. With the holidays coming up, we’re going to be “greeters” at a Food Bank CENC canned goods drop-off location next month.

I’ve found the most difficult thing about volunteering with children is finding a place to actually do some work with kids. If you can find a place to volunteer with your kids — any place, really! — I highly recommend it.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon November 13 with all the carnival links.)

  • Acts of Service: The Great Neighborhood Clean Up — Sarah at Firmly Planted shares how her daughter’s irritation with litter led to eekly cleanups.
  • Running for Charity — Find out how Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her love of running and a great new app to help feed the hungry.
  • 50 Family Friendly Community Service Project Ideas — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares a list of 50 family-friendly community service project ideas that are easy to incorporate to your daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal rhythmn.
  • Volunteering with a Child — Volunteer work does not need to be put on hold while we raise our children. Jenn of Monkey Butt Junction discusses some creative options for volunteering with a child at Natural Parents Network.
  • Family Service Project: Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina — Erika at Cinco de Mommy volunteers with her children at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, where 29% of the recipients are children.
  • Family Service Learning: Advent Calendar — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school offers her family’s approach to some holiday-related community service by sharing their community focused Advent Calendar. She includes so tips and suggestions for making your own in time for this year’s holidays.
  • How to make street crossing flags as a family service project — Lauren at Hobo Mama offers a tutorial for an easy and relatively kid-friendly project that will engage young pedestrians.
  • Pieces of the Puzzle — Because of an experience Laura from Pug in the Kitchen had as a child, she’s excited to show her children how they can reach out to others and be a blessing.
  • Appalachian Bear Rescue — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how saving pennies, acorns and hickory nuts go a long way in helping rescue orphaned and injured black bears.
  • Volunteering to Burnout and Back — Jorje of Momma Jorje has volunteered to the point of burnout and back again… but how to involve little ones in giving back?
  • How to Help Your Kids Develop Compassion through Service Projects — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares service projects her family has done along with links to lots of resources for service projects you can do with your children.
  • Involving Young Children in Service — Leanna at All Done Monkey, the mother of a toddler, reflects on how to make service a joyful experience for young children.
  • A Letter to My Mama — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has dedicated her life to service, just like her own mama. Today Dionna is thanking her mother for so richly blessing her.
  • 5 Ways to Serve Others When You Have Small Children — It can be tough to volunteer with young children. Jennifer at Our Muddy Boots shares how her family looks for opportunities to serve in every day life.
  • When Giving It Away Is Too Hard for Mommy — Jade at Looking Through Jade Glass But Dimly lets her children choose the charity for the family but struggles when her children’s generosity extends to giving away treasured keepsakes.
  • Community Service Through Everyday Compassion — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children calls us to Community Service Through Everyday Compassion; sometimes it is the small things we can do everyday that make the greater impacts.
  • School Bags and Glad RagsAlt Family are trying to spread a little love this Christmas time by involving the kids in a bit of charity giving.
  • Children in (Volunteering) Service — Luschka at Diary of a First Child reminisces on her own experiences of volunteering as a child, reflects on what she thinks volunteering teaches children and how she hopes voluntary service will impact on her own children.
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10 Responses

  1. I love the thought of kids shoveling pasta – what a fun way to get them involved. And I think many parents can relate to that moment where a child makes you want to pull your hair out with the wants/needs/questionable gratefulness thing. Finding a service project is an excellent way to model your values!
    ~Dionna @ CodeNameMama.com

  2. […] Family Service Project: Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina — Erika at Cinco de Mommy volunteers with her children at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, where 29% of the recipients are children. […]

  3. […] Family Service Project: Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina — Erika at Cinco de Mommy volunteers with her children at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, where 29% of the recipients are children. […]

  4. […] Family Service Project: Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina — Erika at Cinco de Mommy volunteers with her children at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, where 29% of the recipients are children. […]

  5. Haha! Your intro made me laugh! However, what a great project to do as it does allow you to open up a tangible discussion about what struggling really looks like. I hope your children really embrace how blessed they are even if the volunteer opportunity wasn’t sunshine and unicorns for you mama! 😉

  6. […] Family Service Project: Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina — Erika at Cinco de Mommy volunteers with her children at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, where 29% of the recipients are children. […]

  7. Cool! I want to see if there are kids days at the food banks near us. I love the idea of putting things into concrete terms for kids — that can be the tough part of getting the concept of poverty through to kids who don’t experience it themselves.

  8. […] Family Service Project: Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina — Erika at Cinco de Mommy volunteers with her children at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, where 29% of the recipients are children. […]

  9. […] Family Service Project: Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina — Erika at Cinco de Mommy volunteers with her children at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, where 29% of the recipients are children. […]

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