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Kids and Charity

Posted by Elisa Taub
Kids and Charity

The holiday season is a wonderful time to teach your children about charity. After all the talk about getting, and wanting, and needing, it is the perfect time to turn the tables and talk to your children about GIVING.

In a previous article about Teaching Banks (see below) we talked about having your children divide their allowance each week into spending, savings and charity. But after they've amassed a small fund in the charity bank where do they send it?

In our house, at of the beginning of holiday/getting season we had our kids empty their charity banks and tally it up. My daughter who had been saving all year had $40.03 and my son who just started receiving allowance in June had $17.69. Then we talked about what to do with the money.

We handed them each a stack of information. This included the prospectus from several children's charities filled with pictures of the special needs of each and the good work they do, and also two "giving catalogs."

The first catalog was from Heifer International ( who offers you the chance to give the gift of livestock to an impoverished family. This led to discussions about what each animal can do for the family. For example my son was interested in spending his money on a flock of chicks for $20 after we talked about how each hen could lay 200 eggs a year for the family -- plenty to eat or sell.

The second was from a catalog called World Vision Gifts ( They too offer the chance to give the gift of livestock, but also have other opportunities such as filling a school backpack for a child in need ($25), a clean water fund ($50), vaccinations for children ($25) and warm blankets ($15) among others.

Finally we sat down at the computer and looked at ( This wonderful program offers a chance to give money to specific projects at under-funded public schools around the nation. You simply log on, choose a city and then browse by grade, reading about the different needs posted by teachers at various schools.

After the initial excitement about the baby chicks, our kids shifted their interest to DonorsChoose and we read through many projects together. In the end they both decided to give their money to help fund a Space Themed Rug for a 3rd grade classroom in Compton, California. They were sparked by the teacher's plea not to let her class continue sitting on the cold linoleum floor... something they didn't like to do either. As we logged in and made our donation DonorsChoose also gave the kids the option to honor someone with their donation. Each child chose to honor their teacher and an acknowledgement note was sent to the teacher as well as my kids.

No matter which charity you choose, these are all ways of giving that a child can relate to and easily understand. It gives them a tangible feeling that they have done something for another person and really teaches them about the meaning of charity...and the true meaning of the holiday season.