With the holiday season in full swing, it’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the shopping, parties, baking, and other festivities that keep us busy (I’m guilty!). But I was raised to not only celebrate our blessings and the magic of the season, but to also find true joy in giving at this time of year.
Now that my older two boys are 3 and 5, they are able to understand the importance of sharing ourselves and our resources with others, and I’m taking small steps to teach that lesson early – just as my mom did for me and my siblings.
I have vivid memories from my childhood of our own family’s annual giving projects. I came to expect and enjoy these traditions – just as I expected and enjoyed the other aspects of the season (like the cookie decorating and the present unwrapping!).
Each year our family would “adopt” children from the angel tree at our church. I loved picking out the perfect gift for these kids and imagining how happy they would be when they had something special to open on Christmas morning.
We also adopted a local family each season and provided them with the food that they needed to prepare a delicious holiday meal, as well as numerous gifts from each family member’s wish list. I loved doing the shopping for these strangers, I loved wrapping the gifts, and I even remember delivering them with my mom. What joy! It felt like we were Santa for a day!
In order to encourage the same love of giving in my own children (and to teach them that Christmas is not just about receiving), we have spent each holiday season crafting age-appropriate handmade ornaments for the boys to share with their loved ones and neighbors.
This year, in addition to the ornaments, we’re starting a new tradition! The kids and I are helping to make the season brighter for hungry families in our community with the gift of nutrient-rich milk. Milk has always been one of my boys’ favorite foods, which they drink at least 3 times per day! It’s a habit that I support – especially in the morning – since a good breakfast, with milk, gives kids nutrients and energy they need to fuel active, successful days. Studies show that breakfast eaters have better scores on math, reading and standardized tests; are better able to pay attention; and have fewer absences and incidents of tardiness, compared to breakfast skippers. And with 8 grams of protein, an 8-ounce glass of milk has even more high-quality protein than an egg!
Unfortunately, on average, food bank clients receive the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year, leaving many families with limited access to milk’s essential nutrients. That’s where The Great American Milk Drive comes in!
To date, 194,000 gallons have been donated as part of the industry’s ongoing commitment to helping families get much-desired nutrient-rich milk. This holiday season, we can help make the season brighter for hungry families with the gift of milk by donating at www.MilkLife.com/give. By entering your zip code, you can ensure that milk is delivered to a local food bank to help nourish children in your own community.
Since my boys have such a love for milk, it was a great conversation starter to help them understand that some children don’t even have access to these “basics” on a daily basis. This message really hit home! That’s why we have decided that instead of leaving a glass of milk and some cookies out for Santa this year, the boys will instead “donate” that milk to a local family in need. After all, Gibbs and Casey both agreed that Santa probably has more milk than he can drink on Christmas Eve!
Will you join us in donating Santa’s milk this season?
While you give thanks for what you have this year, take action against the issue of hunger:
- Make a donation online. Starting Giving Tuesday (December 2) through December 31, America’s dairy farmers and milk companies will match all donations made at www.MilkLife.com/give making milk gallons multiply at your local food bank this holiday season. By entering your zip code, you can ensure that milk is delivered to a local food bank to help nourish children in your own community.
- Spread the word. For every share of the Great American Milk Drive video below, a one-gallon donation will be made to one of the more than 200 food banks served by Feeding America.
So help us spread the word by sharing the video, and then jump over to The Great American Milk Drive website and make your own donation. It’s a wonderful lesson for our children and an amazing blessing for our friends in need!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.