Originally posted on The Vacaville Reporter: After wishing the school year away, students and parents can sometimes find themselves in a rut once summer arrives. It often doesn’t take long before parents hear the dreaded words, “I’m bored.”
In an effort to limit their children’s time in front of electronic devices, many parents come up with lists of things their children can do over summer. The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano has got some ideas to add to that list.
In July the Food Bank will host two special events that allow young children to volunteer. On July 18, in our Fairfield warehouse, we will host our monthly Family Food Sort. Family Food Sorts are volunteer opportunities designated for families with young children. They occur on the third Saturday of every month. Families work together to bag produce that will be distributed through our Community Produce Program. The children attending will learn that the food that they are sorting will be given to people who don’t have enough to eat.
On July 19, at our Concord warehouse, we will host our (not quite) quarterly Family Volunteer Day. This is a popular event that also allows parents or grandparents to introduce their young children to volunteerism. The children work side-by-side with their family members to do a fun sorting project. They get to experience the joy of helping others in need firsthand. Families also get to go on a guided tour of the warehouse.
What makes these events unique is that the food bank’s normal minimum age requirement is 11 years old. With both Family Volunteer Days and Family Food Sorts, we welcome children as young as 5 years old to attend.
Shifts fill up quickly; to reserve a shift at either function, visit www.facebookccs.org/events.
If your family can’t make these upcoming events, there are other ways that your child can help the Food Bank on their own time.
If your child likes to cook, encourage them to host a bake sale or lemonade stand. If your child is crafty, suggest that they sell their creations to others. They will get a taste of what is involved in running a business and they can opt to donate all or a portion of the proceeds to the Food Bank.
In honor of our 40th anniversary, their financial donations can be matched dollar-for-dollar. Visit www.foodbankccs.org/40th for more information.
Another way children can help the Food Bank is by holding a traditional food drive. Your child can coordinate a food drive in conjunction with your annual block party, a Fourth of July gathering or any kind of function this summer. They can make flyers and notify friends, family and neighbors that they are collecting food on behalf of the Food Bank.
Whether your child collects food or funds, they will receive a thank you letter from the food bank for their efforts and donation. More information about holding a food drive can be found at www.foodbankccs.org/fooddrive.
This is the time of year when donation levels at the Food Bank drop considerably. Having children think of people in need and encouraging them to take action can simultaneously alleviate their boredom and stock our shelves. It’s one thing to tell children about people who are less fortunate. It’s another thing to actually empower them to do something about it.
When children start to do volunteer work, they become vested in their community and realize that they can make a difference, no matter their age.