Inspired by companies that give back like Tyson, our family decided to plan a playdate that would encourage community involvement through a simple service project.
Teaching children about serving others
Our family actively gives to our community through our church, with homeless blessing bags, and by serving at our local food bank.
Recently, my children were saddened to learn that our local police department often needs to intervene and remove children from dangerous situations. Many of these children are hungry and leave their housing situation with only the clothes on their backs.
Just thinking that a child might have to leave a favorite toy or might not have eaten all day spurred my children into action. They want to end hunger. They want to help other kids experience compassion.
As I shared with my children about the Tyson KNOW Hunger campaign, their faces glowed to learn that for every bag of specially-marked Tyson product purchased, one meal will be donated to a child in need by Tyson.
We can eat yummy food and give at the same time? That’s easy!
Then, I explained the Champions for Kids #SummerofGiving and how small service projects can make a big difference. A plan started to form as to how our family could help.
Planning a #SummerofGiving Playdate
Initiating community involvement through a simple playdate will not only unify your neighborhood but can teach children empathy and generosity.
After making a list of children to invite for our playdate, we sent the instructions to bring 8 to 10 of an item that each child would like to place in a comfort bag for kids in these serious situations. Some items we suggested included:
- Shampoo, soap, washcloth
- Toothpaste, toothbrush
- Snacks like granola bars, cheese and crackers, fruit gummies
- Notebooks and colored pencils
- Juice boxes or pouch drinks
- Small toys like party favors and kids meal prizes
- T-shirts, underwear, socks
- Combs, brushes, hair accessories
You want to avoid anything that might spoil or melt in the trunk of a car.
Our #SummerofGiving Playdate Menu
Planning a party menu for kids is super easy with Tyson. With a variety of kid-friendly options available, I was able to stop by my local Walmart to pick up everything we needed to fill some happy, helpful tummies. Plus, knowing that Walmart has pledged to feed 5 million kids this summer encourages me to shop there.
Tyson products can be found in various sections of Walmart. However, I was intent of serving Any’tizers Honey BBQ Boneless Chicken Wyngz, Any’tizers Popcorn Chicken, Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Strips, and Day Starts Wrapped Omelets, so I headed for the freezer section where I found a large selection of Tyson foods with the frozen snacks and breakfast foods.
Adding salad and fruit to these quick-to-cook selections meant my buffet was ready in less than 25 minutes! However, this was not ordinary junk food. Instead of typical party snacks, the children were offered balanced nutrition and tons of protein.
Packing Comfort Bags for Kids
After organizing all of the items for the comfort bags, each child was given an empty zip-top gallon freezer bag. (I recommend freezer bags instead of storage bags as they are more durable.)
Into each bag was placed a pouch drink (not pictured), sample of shampoo, washcloth, plastic spring toy, two granola bars, comb, hair accessories (in girl themed bags only), cracker sticks and cheese, gummy snacks, art activity kit, toothbrush, toothpaste, white t-shirt (size 4T or boy small), bubbles, and an unused toy leftover from a kid’s meal (not pictured).
I tend to collect toys from kid’s meals. If my children receive one and leave it on the table overnight, I grab the bag and stick it in a box to donate later. Those toys are perfect for a project like this! However, I recommend adding these toys AFTER the children have finished packing the bags to avoid arguments.
Once our comfort bags were packed and ready to be donated to the local police department, the children were happy to pile their plates high with Tyson chicken, vegetables, and fruit.
They would return to the table again and again.
My oldest son eventually walked over to me with his hand on his stomach.
Mommy, I’m stuffed! I must have eaten six pieces of chicken and those omelets are delicious!
A child with a full stomach… Oh, how my heart leaped at the thought of the children who would go to bed hungry and the five who would be helped because I purchased Tyson products at Walmart!
Such a simple service project but one with tremendous importance!
#SummerofGiving party favor
No party or playdate is complete without something to take home. So, we prepared homemade cookie mixes for each family.
Our hope was that each family would take the time to make the cookies and share them with a friend, telling their neighbors about the experience they had creating comfort bags for kids and all they had learned about Champions for Kids #SummerofGiving and Tyson KNOW Hunger.
How are you engaged in community service? In what simple service projects do you involve your family?
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