Support one of these family-focused causes and teach your child the importance of volunteering. 


"Your own enthusiasm plays a big role in how children view volunteering," says Jenny Friedman, the Minneapolis-based author of The Busy Family's Guide to Volunteering. Another key is working with organizations tailored to children and families. Check out these 10 especially worthy ones:

The Box Project

Sponsor an impoverished rural family by sending monthly gift boxes (see one at left) filled with clothing, food, and more. 800-268-9928

Helping Our Friends (Even the Four-Legged Ones!)

Canine Companions for Independence

Help raise and train a puppy that will eventually assist children and adults with physical disabilities. 866-CCI-DOGS

Heifer International

Donate money for a farm animal (or a share of one), a package including honeybees and a hive to keep them in, or other agricultural supplies that will help a struggling family provide its own food. 800-422-0474

Kid's Stuff USA: Shoe Box Gifts

Decorate a shoe box, then fill it with toys, school supplies, and other items for disadvantaged children. 866-543-7269 (Visit the website and click on United States Programs, then Kid's Stuff USA)

Caring for Those in Need

Locks of Love

Donate your (or your child's) just-cut hair (10-inch minimum) to help create quality hairpieces for children who suffer from the hair loss that can be brought on by a variety of long-term medical illnesses. 888-896-1588

National Hunger Clearinghouse

Collect food for soup kitchens, childcare centers, homeless shelters, food banks, and food pantries. 800-GLEAN-IT

Peter Pan Children's Fund

Join the Peter Pan Birthday Club and help raise money for the children's hospital of your choice. 914-764-9585

Raising Money & Awareness

Pinwheel Project

Donate children's books, art supplies, videos and DVDs, and nonperishable foods to comfort children's-hospital patients and their families. 914-273-7330

Project Linus

Become a "blanketeer" with your child by working to create a handmade blanket for abused and chronically ill children. 309-664-7814

Special Olympics

Help out at competitions by pitching in with food service or by presenting awards to athletes, all of whom are disabled. 202-628-3630

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Copyright © 2004. Reprinted with permission from the December/January 2005 issue of Child magazine.