|Thank you, Tim's Tiny Toys!|
I made it all the way to Friday before finally settling on what I wanted to do. I think the combination of it being my first week and wanted to start things well, and the service I had planned to do not quite panning out was throwing me off a little. It was hard to find something that felt like just the right thing to kick this off this year of service. Which is silly, because all good things are good things, right? Every drop in the bucket counts!
In the end, instead of me finding "just the right thing", just the right thing found me.
I took the kids out to lunch on Friday, which is pretty unheard of, because I try at all costs to avoid taking them anywhere on my own. But on Friday I just wanted a salad and to not have to make anyone another ham sandwich, so I loaded them all up and took them to Culver's where we were all happily snarfing down our lunches when a very nice gentleman came up and introduced himself, and asked if he could give the kids some toys. He then went on to explain that he was a volunteer with an organization called Tiny Tim's Toys, and their sole purpose is to make toys and give them to kids. He clarified that they usually bring them to kids around who don't typically have access to toys, as well as to children in hospital. And sometimes, they like to give them to local kids, just because. It's all volunteer run, and no one gets paid. Obviously, (although this gentleman didn't even so much as hint at it) they rely pretty heavily on donations to keep it all going. If you're local, you might also like to know that they invite volunteer groups to come in and help them make the toys.
After my three lucky kids had each been given a nicely made wooden car, I knew that supporting Tiny Tim's Toys would be my first act of service. So I looked them up online, found that they accept donations via PayPal and sent a little love their way. Who doesn't love an organization whose sole purpose is making kids happy?
Before Tiny Tim came along and saved the day, I did a little research into ways to volunteer and serve from home, and found a lot of ways to contribute. There are so many ways to make a difference and opportunities to do good, that it is honestly a little overwhelming! Fortunately, I've given myself a whole year and a minimum of 40 opportunities to try some of them, so it's really just a matter of picking something and making it happen. Here's a little taste of what I found:
- I started with Just Serve. Just Serve is a service opportunity hub where organizations can post their volunteer needs, and volunteers can see where and how they can serve in their communities. You should know that the website is run by my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), but you should also know that it is available to anyone, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. There are a lot of opportunies to dig into there, although I did notice that a lot of them are looking for ongoing volunteer relationships, rather than one-off service opportunities.
- Operation Warm (a great organization that I will be looking into later) offered this list of 25 volunteer jobs to do from home. A few cool ones that stood out to me: transcribe historical documents for the Smithsonian, knit or crochet afghan squares for Warm Up America, write a note for someone undergoing chemo therapy, volunteer to translate for Translators Without Borders. At 25 items, it's not the most comprehensive list out there, but it's got some items that seems both fun and worthwhile.
- Smiliar to Just Serve, Create The Good connects volunteers with volunteer opportunities. Create the Good is run by AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), so there are a few things I'm not old enough for (ha!), but otherwise there is a good variety of ways to get involved.
I'll leave it there for now, but hopefully I can come back with more volunteer ideas and opportunities as I go. See you next week!