Catholics around the world enter into the penitential season of Lent on Ash Wednesday. From now till Easter, we practice Lenten virtues of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We give up things in imitation of Jesus’s temptation in the desert. We pray to draw closer to God. And we share with those in need. Here are 40 ways kids can give, one for each day of lent.
* Collect clothing for warming centers. For donation ideas, use this article I wrote with wishlists from Detroit homeless shelters.
* Wash and donate used stuffed animals to a children’s hospital.
* Print Bible coloring pages, write messages on the back and send to lonely senior citizens.
* Visit a nursing home and lead a sing-along.
* Bring tea and cookies to a shut-in neighbor; stay to visit.
* Shovel a disabled person’s walk.
* Plant a tree.
* Pick up trash in the park.
* Call grandma.
* FaceTime with your brother in college.
* Fold your sister’s clothes.
* Tidy dad’s work area.
* Cook, serve and clean up dinner for mom.
* Donate used puzzles to the library.
* Repair gently used toys and bring to thrift store.
* Drop used books in Green Earth Books boxes.
* Teach your little brother to play a song on your guitar.
* Knit a blanket for a new baby (little blankets make great project for kid knitters).
* Bike to the store to pick up your elderly neighbor’s prescription.
* Fix up your old bike and give to the neighbor’s child.
* Wash gently used clothes and drop in Goodwill donation box.
* Make a meal for someone who had surgery.
* Let your little sister pick the TV show.
* Play Legos with your little brother.
* Have a free garage sale. Or put gently used give-aways on the curb for people to take.
* Fill a bag of groceries and leave it on your laid-off neighbor’s porch.
* Draw and frame a picture for your minister’s office.
* Write your doctor a note thanking her for caring for you.
* Find out what the food pantry needs, go shopping, bring groceries.
* Paint a pretty mug for your teacher and fill it with her favorite coffee.
* Attend a funeral (that is a very generous and not so easy thing to give).
* Cheerfully clean your room without being asked.
* Leave a plant for your mail carrier.
* Babysit your irritating cousins for free.
* Help your grumpy neighbor wash his car.
* Eat vegetables only and put donate money you save to food pantry.
* Play lullabies on your violin to soothe the baby to sleep (you get practice time in, too!)
* Fix the broken toilet paper holder in the bathroom.
* Organize the kitchen pantry.
* Follow the Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl calender and put coins in the bowl.
* Bring donuts and coffee to firefighters and public safety officers.
Donations don’t have to involve money. Most kids don’t have a lot and gifts of time, labor and talent are just as important.