I’ve tripped over
my last stuffed animal.
This year I’m not
getting my kids the traditional Valentine’s Day “surprise” – a stuffed toy and a
chocolate something. They seriously don’t need it. However, they do need a
little dose of unselfish giving – and, honestly, don’t we all.
So this year, I’m
looking into a charitable gift for my two munchkins. After all, I want them to
remember the lessons I’ve taught them not the toys I’ve bought them.
And this isn’t an
original idea (big surprise). I’ve noticed their elementary school getting more
involved in charitable donations entwined with daily activities. For instance,
the fourth graders participated in a sly math lesson by holding a competitive food
drive; classes competed with each other on the total weight of the donated food
in kilograms. And first graders celebrated the “100th day of school” with a
goal to bring in 100 items of canned food to donate. To better reinforce these
lessons, I am going to bring it in a little closer to home.
I thought I’d share
some of the ideas I came across in my search for the best gifts for Valentine’s
Here’s a feel good
gift, purchase something from the Women’s Bean Project, a nonprofit
organization that’s breaking the cycle of poverty and changing women’s lives.
Their web site has something for everyone – gift baskets to bracelets, salsa to
soups. I pray there are more than a few young girls out there who would
understand and appreciate a gift from the Women’s Bean Project. (www.womensbeanproject.com)
#1: Everyone deserves a second chance.
Day protect a species before it’s too late. A monetary donation to the World
Wildlife Federation (the true WWF) is something children can appreciate. Almost
all kids love animals so it’s a perfect pair. Most children have learned in
school about the threat of extinction to animals. If they’re not in school,
they can still understand that dinosaurs are now gone and the WWF is trying to
prevent that from happening to tigers, polar bears, elephants, and many other
precious creatures. I know I said no more stuffed animals but even I’m willing
to bend for this awesome cause (and they are adorable!). The WWF does have a
Valentine’s Day offer, check it out under the ADOPT page. (wwf.org)
#2: It’s up to us to take care of our planet.
Day gift idea is to visit a local food bank or shelter with a bag full of
groceries worth about what you normally spend on your kids for Valentine’s Day.
I’m betting they will never forget the visit and hunger will suddenly have a
face for them. You may think this is not a very cheerful treat for Valentine’s
Day; but, just imagine how thankful they will be when they ask for (another) snack
and you cheerfully oblige while gently reminding them to be glad you have food
in the pantry.
#3: If you’re lucky enough to have, be thankful and share.
So there are just a
few ideas to get your juices flowing.
On a side note, if
you choose to itemize on your tax return, you can claim your charitable donations
as long as they go to a qualified organization.
charities benefit, and parents save money - now that’s a sweet deal!