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The Reason for the Season with Champions for Kids (and a Little Disney Magic)

“Mommy, if Santa Claus brings presents to all the good boys and girls, why do we donate toys to the kids in the shelters?”

Whew. That’s a tough one.

We donate toys for these children because sometimes people do not let Santa know how little they have. We bring the toys because some children use their letters to Santa to ask for warm clothing and food. We give these gifts because even Santa does not work alone and he needs friends in every neighborhood to help him bring a little joy to every girl and boy.

My five year old daughter is already a Santa skeptic. That’s fine but I hope she knows that Santa is real in the way that counts–in the spirit of giving and generosity that can fill each and every one of us. Because right now, that’s the Santa we need.

Champions for Kids is all about deputizing a lot of year-round “Santas”. 20 Million of them by 2020 to be precise. They are working “to mobilize MILLIONS of people by providing training and resources to improve the lives of children in communities across America and beyond.”

Maybe it is a little cliched but you need to be the change you want to see. And that is what I want for my family. We need to stretch our empathy muscles and build our compassion power so that we can create the types of communities where we can thrive. Along the way we will find that we have the strength and the talent to make a positive impact.

That’s why it is so important to me that my children are involved in as many of my volunteer activities as possible. Even a three-foot-tall preschooler can be a giant when he helps someone else.

We volunteer all year. Around the Holidays, there are even more opportunities to get involved in our communities.

The kids make cards that go out with meals to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving.

They bake cookies and sing carols and play piano at a local assisted living facility.

And they help stuff stockings for children in a local shelter.

This year, we’re getting a little help from Disney for our stockings so that we can help spread the word about Champions for Kids. We are going to fill 6 stockings with Disney gifts and other items our friends are donating and then bring them to the local food pantry for their Holiday party for the children.

When you look at the amount of suffering, a stocking may seem like a small thing. But this one gesture can be so meaningful to a child who feels invisible.

Did you know that this very day almost 50,000 children worldwide will die from poverty? Malnourishment, preventable diseases, and other causes of death that basically boil down to a failure of will of the adults of the world. Or that, right here in the United States, more than 17 million children in the United States are at risk for hunger.

That means that kids who should be thinking about school and friendship and the magic of childhood are instead worried about affording medical care, school supplies, a place to live, and their next meal.

Champions for Kids believes, and I agree, that the solutions are with each and every one of us.

Their guiding vision is that all children should have:

Someone who cares
A place to belong
Hope for tomorrow and provisions for their journey.
All children.

Could you give the gift of hope? It is amazing what it can mean to simply say to a child: “You are here. You are important. You matter to someone.”


TAKE ACTION: Join the 20:20 Campaign at www.ChampionsforKids.org, join the discussion on twitter with #DisneyCFK and follow them @champions4kids and on Facebook.

Disclosure: This post has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias

Written by

Candace is the co-editor and co-founder of Mamanista. She is an educational consultant and writer.

Filed under: Charity, Featured · Tags: , ,

18 Responses to "The Reason for the Season with Champions for Kids (and a Little Disney Magic)"

  1. What an inquisitive child and a tough question to answer no doubt. You did a great job on the stockings and have done a wonderful job of raising your kids to pay it forward.

  2. Summer Davis says:

    I wish I could do 6 stocking, I know of so many people in need. I was able to bless a boy and a girl in my son’s class this year. How young were your children when you started serving publicly? My children are 10, 2, and 8months. My husband is a restaurant manager who works holidays so I really would like to make part of our Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions serving in a soup kitchen, I’m just not sure WHEN to start. Thank you for being a good example to your children and community.

  3. Candace says:

    My kids come with me volunteering from pretty much birth, on. For serving food, there may be regulations or even laws. But there is always something they can do and I want it to be just part of who we are, as a family. When we help feed people who are homeless, the little kids make cards. the older kids put together personal items (soap, shampoo, warm clothing, etc.), and older teens and adults prepare the meals.

    My kids are now 5, 3, and 7 mos. … and having a young family definitely limits what I can personally do (I used to get involved with Habitat for Humanity but my kids are too young to be on the work site) but I hope that making it a tradition from the start makes up for that!

  4. Samantha says:

    i love that kids are helping- it is great to teach them this at a young age

  5. [...] year, my family fills stockings for children in need.  These are members of our community, our neighbors, our fellow men, women, and children who are [...]

  6. I love this whole post! I just did a little series on my blog about drawing the line at the holidays. We did 4 gifts for our kids this year, “Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read.” I am really trying to fight the commercialism and “gimmes” and also up our giving.

    I like your idea about kids making the cards for the Thanksgiving meals. We were involved in helping pack meals on Thanksgiving that were being delivered, I will see about having the kids make cards to include for next year!! Thanks!

  7. Amy R. says:

    What a wonderful idea. I am a believer in teaching children to be compassionate and giving. The children will grow up to be much more thoughtful adults. Great job. :)

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