Sunaina was in between a hectic day when she received a call from home. She heard her daughter’s excited voice saying, “Mummy! Don’t forget the neighbourhood painting project we have tomorrow! All my friends and their mothers are coming too!”
Sunaina immediately remembered that the community project hosted by their local council to paint the houses of the slums in their area, was planned for the next day. She would have to reschedule all her meetings to make it to the event. Deep inside, she knew she needed to take time out to fulfil her social responsibilities and display the same to her daughter.
Working mothers often find it a challenge to involve themselves in voluntary work. Juggling the responsibilities of home and work can be a struggle. Amidst the hectic schedule, it is also important to inculcate in children the values of giving and kindness. This is where social responsibility and giving back to the society play an important role, especially while raising children. While working mothers are striving for time between work and home, giving back need not take a back seat. There are many ways in which families can volunteer to do community work and it will not even be a stretch. What’s best is that working mothers will also find it fulfilling to volunteer their time or money, even in a small way.
Here are a few ideas for working mothers and their families to give back to the community:
Donation box at the cashier till: This is one of the quickest ways to give back without taking much time. While shopping at the supermarket and waiting in a queue with your children at the checkout counter, just drop some money in the donation box to support a cause and help the needy. You can also discuss with your children about the cause and how a small amount can make a difference.
Giving away clothes: Remember the maternity clothes stashed in the closet? Clothes that are in good condition but no longer worn? During the weekend, take some time out to dig into the closet and sort out yours and your children’s clothes. Keep aside the one’s which do not fit anymore or are not being used, and donate them by dropping off at a local charity/voluntary organisation. You can even give it to someone who needs it.
Preparing a meal for a sick friend: If your neighbour or friend is unwell, it is highly likely that she is low on energy to look after herself and care for her family. While cooking for your loved ones, also prepare a meal for your friend who is sick and who would love a helping hand. Your thoughtful act towards another person will not only make you feel contented, but will also teach your children to lend a helping hand to people in the community.
Participating in a charity walkathon/marathon: Participating in charity walkathons or marathons shows your effort towards giving back on a bigger scale, and will give you an opportunity to support a specific cause close to your heart. Doing it with your spouse showcases a joint effort to your children and displays the passion for the cause that you support.
Buying a meal for underprivileged children: The next time you go to a fast food joint with your children, and you see poor kids playing on the streets nearby, give them a treat. Buy them a burger, a pastry or a juice – it will be a pleasant surprise for the kids and the joy you give them cannot be quantified.
Organising a garage sale: This is a family activity where all the old and usable items in your house are put on sale in your neighbourhood. The whole family can help in collecting the items they no longer need and are worth selling. Do this over a weekend, so you have time to sort out the items. The proceeds of the garage sale can go to an orphanage or to a cause you support.
Donating hair: The next time you plan on trimming or chopping your hair, remember that you can donate them. There are many organisations that accept hair donations for patients undergoing short term or long-term hair loss due to cancer, thyroid dysfunction or alopecia.
Buying local: This is a great way to give back to the farmers who work hard to cultivate local produce. Buying and eating local supports the farming community and paves the way for sustainable living. It is good for your family too, because the ingredients will be fresh and have less harmful chemicals, since the produce is not travelling a long distance.
Giving back need not always be monetary. By fulfilling our social responsibilities, we set examples of giving and kindness in our family. It is rightly said that charity begins at home. As working mothers, time and pace is always a challenge but once you dedicate a little of your energy and time into volunteer work, it will start fitting into your schedule smoothly