The Caring Kids family volunteer program teaches children the value of serving others in their community. Now in its fifth month, the Caring Kids program of the Child Care Action Council has partnered with several different nonprofit organizations to give back.
This month, Caring Kids partnered with the Thurston County Food Bank FORKids Backpack program to benefit children in the community. On a Saturday morning in late March, 12 families with 21 young children worked together to stuff over 650 food bags at the food bank’s warehouse.
The FORKids Backpack program provides free weekend food bags to 2,000 kids in five local school districts, including 33 elementary schools and seven high schools. The program ensures that children who rely on free and reduced school lunch receive enough food for the weekend. FORKids coordinator Morgan Lord says it usually takes three or four groups of volunteers each week to stuff all of the food bags.
Parents and their kids were excited about this project and the opportunity to get to volunteer with their whole family. “I think it’s important to start kids young and teach them to give back,” says Caring Kids volunteer and parent Vicky Barrick. “We wanted to give back to a community that’s given us a home. That’s really what it’s all about."
Vicky’s five-year-old son was especially enthusiastic to participate in the project, each time he reached the beginning of the assembly line, excitedly announcing the number of bags he had already completed.
Each month, Caring Kids partners with a different community group or organization to complete a volunteer project that parents can do with their kids. As a program of the Child Care Action Council, Caring Kids is aimed at young children age two to five, but older kids are welcome at the projects as well. The projects combine volunteer service with early learning activities, and usually incorporate other Child Care Action Council programs such as the Raising A Reader early literacy program and BlockFest’s early math and science program.
So far Caring Kids has partnered with the Red Cross, South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity, Safe Place, and Panorama. In April, Caring Kids is joining families from South Sound Parent to Parent to march in the Procession of the Species for Spring Arts Walk on April 27.
By marching together, they will focus on how we are all connected. The costume theme will be “in the garden together.” Families can dress up as their favorite garden plant, animal, fungi or other earth species. “With this event we’re focusing on inclusion, and giving kids that experience with those they might not otherwise be exposed to,” says Melanie Kincaid, Caring Kids facilitator at Child Care Action Council. Families do not need to sign up for this event to participate.
Caring Kids will be busy in the upcoming months with different service projects including:
- May 17: Planting in the Olympia Kiwanis Club Garden
- June 22: Event help at the Safe Kids Thurston County Safety Fair
- July 13: Beach Clean-up at Priest Point Park with the Puget Sound Estuarium
- August 24: Conservation project at Capitol Land Trust’s Darlin Creek Preserve
More information on how to sign-up for these volunteer, please visit ccacwa.org/caring-kids or leave a message for Melanie Kincaid at 360-786-8960 x 100. Also stay up to date by joining our Caring Kids Facebook group. Child Care Action Council is always looking for new organizations to partner with for future projects and also gladly accepts snack donations or funds for our hard working kid volunteers!