You're never too young to start giving back. That's the message 7-year-old Bo wants other kids to know.
"If I didn't have any food, I would get starving so that's why I am helping," said Bo Leever, a second grader. "The poor kids, if they don't have any food they could get really hungry so that's why you should come to this."
Each bag feeds six people and costs only $0.25 per serving.
This is KindCraft, a local family service organization that comes together once a month to volunteer. On this night, hundreds of kids and their families put together meal packages for Spring Hill Pantry and Harvesters. In all, they packaged enough meal kits to feed 12,000 people.
"We got started because it was really hard to find volunteer opportunities for our kiddos to participate in," said co-founder Courtney Smith. "So we wanted to make it easier for people to find things so their kids can serve."
KindCraft started last November. Since then, thousand of volunteers have helped the community.
She and Stephanie Whisner came up with the KindCraft concept. They wanted a way for their families to give back, and they learned other families wanted the same thing.
That's how KindCraft started a year ago and since then, thousands of volunteers have helped organizations across the metro.
"There is a huge need out there even in our own community. I think that has been the most eye opening experience for us," said Smith.
Volunteers bagged enough meals to feed 12,000 people.
A conversation with KindCraft
What do you want the volunteers who participate to get out of the experience?
Our whole goal is for them to grow in their compassion for others. When we leave, the conversations we have are awesome. They think wow, some people don't have this kind of food. Some people don't have anything to eat. The conversations that stem from it after are so powerful for us.
What do you hope the families get out of this in the long term?
We want them to have a bonding experience together where they are serving the community together. We want them to have some good conversations about what it means to give back to others and really help their kids see that there is a need out there. We also want them to experience a variety of experiences with different nonprofits. Every month our event is different. One of our goals is that when the kids get to middle school or high school and they have to do service hours or volunteer work, we hope they have connected to something and find something they are really into.
What have you learned over the past year?
I don't know that we necessarily realize how much need there is around us and that has been the most eye opening thing for me.
How can people help their communities?
It takes about a minute or two to fill a bag here tonight and that feeds six people and so we told people, come for 15 minutes with your kid. It does not have to be a huge time commitment. The kids do not have a huge attention span. So for them to come for 30 minutes to an hour, experience something together is better than nothing at all. Plus if you can give an hour a day multiple nights a week to sports, then let's teach our kids that we can give 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, an hour each week, or even each moth to serve others.
How can people get involved even if they can't come to one of your events?
We really wanted to encourage our kids to show kindness on a regular basis, in addition to our service events. We also wanted to provide something for families that may not be able to participate in the events for whatever reason that may be.
Kindness cards are used to do random acts of kindness for others.
You could pay for the customer behind you in a Starbucks line and have the cashier give them the card.
You could bake cookies for a local fire station, attach the card and deliver them.
Or, tape a quarter to the card and tape it to a gumball machine at the grocery store.
Kids are so creative and I bet they will enjoy choosing how best to use the cards. Try to challenge them to come up with 10 different acts of kindness.
Click here for more info on Kindness Cards.
Terra Hall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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