Take advantage of your preschooler's helpful nature by volunteering together in your community. Your little one will stand a little taller as she learns a very valuable life lesson: the importance of helping others. Downingtown, Pennsylvania, is brimming with opportunities to make a difference. If you can't fit a volunteer activity into your weekly or monthly schedule, consider creating a family tradition of one or two projects a year, choosing something the entire family can help with.
Food Drives and Collections
Several organizations in Downingtown collect food, clothing, baby supplies and school supplies on a regular basis. Lords Pantry of Downingtown (lordspantryofdowningtown.org) delivers over 10,000 lbs of food each week and encourages you to help by holding your own food drive, either in your neighborhood or at your child’s school. Your preschooler will proudly help you put up flyers, pick up donations and deliver the food to the pantry. Kids love helping other kids, and Chester County Food Bank's BackPack Program (chestercountyfoodbank.org) delivers backpacks full of nutritious snacks to local elementary schools throughout the school year, and your family can help by collecting healthful snack items that will go into the backpacks.
Adopt a Cause
Make volunteering and giving to others personal for your preschooler by "adopting" or sponsoring a child, family or organization. During the holidays, Downingtown United Methodist Church (downingtownumc.org) sponsors children or entire families. Contact Lord’s Pantry of Downingtown (lordspantryofdowningtown.org) for a list of other churches or organizations that also offer "adoptions" of registered families. Imagine your preschooler's satisfaction and pride as you shop together, then wrap and drop off those special gifts.
If your animal-loving preschooler drools over all that is furry and cute, he'll jump at the chance to help homeless pets at a local shelter. At All Things Pawssible Animal Shelter (atpar.org) in Downingtown, you and your preschooler can collect sealed bags of food, treats and toys to be donated to the shelter during the "No Empty Bowls" food drive. The Chester County SPCA (ccspca.org) is often in need of families to foster kittens or puppies that need a little extra care before permanent adoption; they also welcome donations of money, food, blankets and towels, items that your preschooler can help you round up from friends, neighbors or preschool.
Visit the Elderly
You and your preschooler can enrich the life of a senior at one of the Downingtown area nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Check in with the activities department of St. Martha Manor (stmarthamanor.org) to set up a time you and your preschooler can drop by to visit with a senior who may not have many visitors. St. Martha Manor not only welcomes friendly visits but encourages volunteers to write letters and send cards or other thoughtful tokens to residents. Your little one is sure to bring a smile to a senior’s face with a handmade card, a bouquet of flowers from your garden or a basket of goodies during the holidays. Simpson Meadows (simpsonmeadows.org) also invites volunteers to contact the activities department if they want to volunteer. Not only are there opportunities to pay residents a friendly visit, volunteers are encouraged to participate alongside the residents in games and crafts.