We could all use a little more love and kindness in our lives, especially now more than ever. One of the best ways to teach kids how to be kind is to take action and model it ourselves. Show them what kindness truly looks like and get them involved by having them help you!
We’ve compiled a list of local resources and ideas for giving back that you and your family can do together during the month of December — and we’re making it easier than ever by simply encouraging you to select one item a week. The best part? Many of these selfless acts of service don’t cost a thing and can be an instant mood booster for someone else who could use a pick-me-up during the holiday season — while instilling a sense of gratitude in ourselves and our children.
We hope that these small acts of kindness can kickstart conversations with our kids about giving and gratitude, inspiring us to do more and make the world a better place. See below for details and links to several of the resources mentioned, which will have additional information including wish lists, addresses, how to donate, and more. Be sure to bookmark this page for future reference!
We can’t wait to see your little ones in action. Download the list now, and use the hashtag #JMKidsGiveBack so we can see all the good taking place here in Jacksonville.
Week of Nov. 28–Dec. 4
Donate to the Mark’s Mission Christmas Miracle Toy Drive. The new, unused toys collected by Mark’s Mission will be donated to children at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Click here for details, and click here for other ways to give to Mark’s Mission.
Register for the Ronald McDonald House “Light Up the House” 5K. Grab your sneakers and get ready to “Light Up The House” during the festive holiday season for critically ill children staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Jacksonville. Athletes and children of all levels are invited to run, walk, or stroll through the San Marco route during the 5K on Saturday, Dec. 3. Click here to register.
Bake cookies and deliver them to a neighbor. Weekends are great for baking. Surprise someone in your neighborhood with a few freshly baked treats!
Donate items to LGBTQ+ youth at JASMYN. JASMYN supports LGBTQ+ young people in Jacksonville by creating a safe space, providing health and wellness services, and offering youth development opportunities while bringing people and resources together to promote equality and human rights. Make a monetary donation or access JASMYN’s Amazon Wish Lists for the following items: Food pantry, housing, and undergarments.
Clean your room and select a few gently used toys and clothes to donate to Hope’s Closet. Hope’s Closet Thrift is a retail ministry of The Church of Eleven22. Serving the Jacksonville area since 2015, Hope’s Closet aims to create affordable, quality goods for all people. Click here to view hours and donation locations.
Read to animals through the Pawsitive Reading Program. Pawsitive Reading at the Jacksonville Humane Society is an enrichment program for kids, dogs, and cats — and hearing a person read is proven to help lower stress levels in animals. Must attend an orientation first; click here for details.
Donate to the Daniel Kids Holiday Toy Drive. Daniel Kids helps hundreds of local abused, abandoned, and neglected children, as well as at-risk families every day. Purchase and bring a gift card and/or new gift for the Daniel Kids Holiday Toy Drive. Click here for details and the drop-off address.
Week of Dec. 5–11
Write a thank-you note to your teacher or school administrator. Tell your teacher or a hard-working school staff member (or both!) that you appreciate them and they’re doing a good job. We all could use a few genuine words of kindness!
Buy something for a child from the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree. The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program provides Christmas gifts for children through age 12 whose families have proven financial hardship. These are kids who, without the generosity of people in our community, might not otherwise receive gifts for Christmas. Click here for more information.
Give someone a random compliment. Who doesn’t love a good compliment? Say a few nice words to a friend or a stranger and make their day!
Donate holiday toys to Foster Closet. Foster Closet provides clothing, toys, and other necessities to foster children. The most recently updated Foster Closet wish list can be found here. Please email [email protected] to schedule a donation drop-off.
Leave a secret kindness note for a friend or loved one. The easiest way to brighten someone’s day? Write a few kind words on a piece of paper and leave it where they will find it later!
Donate diapers or wipes to the Diaper Bank for Northeast Florida. The Diaper Bank of Northeast Florida provides diapers to low-income families who are experiencing diaper need. Click here for ways to donate and drop-off locations, or donate to their Amazon Wish List.
Video chat with an older loved one. Seniors and older relatives could always use a little love. Wish them a happy holiday and show that you’re thinking of them with a surprise FaceTime or video chat!
Week of Dec. 12–18
Send some artwork to a long-distance loved one. Color a beautiful picture and mail it to a long-distance friend or family member to bring a smile to their face.
Collect items for the City Rescue Mission. The City Rescue Mission is collecting items for our Jacksonville neighbors in need. Click here to access the list of needs, along with the drop-off location. Children 12 and older are also allowed to volunteer at CRM; click here for details.
Put out a basket of treats for the mail carriers. It’s the busiest shipping time of the year! Brighten a mail carrier’s day by putting a basket of snacks on your porch for them to enjoy.
Make a card for a veteran or deployed service member. Send a thank-you card or draw a picture for a military veteran or deployed service member. Click here for the mailing address and to learn more about America’s Adopt a Soldier program.
Help a sibling do a chore or job. Think how happy your brother or sister would be to have your unexpected help with a household chore!
Donate wish list items to shelter animals. Jacksonville’s Animal Care and Protective Services (ACPS) wish list can be found here. Also, check out the Jacksonville Humane Society’s wish list and the Clay County Animal Services’ wish list.
Host a bake sale or lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to charity. Any of the charities listed here also accept monetary donations.
Week of Dec. 19–25
Donate to the food pantry at BEAM. BEAM provides emergency assistance to the Jacksonville beaches communities. Click here for items they need, including drop-off details.
Go on a cozy walk and help pick up litter. Clean up, clean up… everybody clean up! Help keep our community clean by bundling up and picking up trash, whether on the beach or in your neighborhood. Beaches Go Green offers many opportunities to help. Or make it a point to just pick up three pieces of trash you see in one day!
Donate used LEGOs through LEGO Replay. By donating your used LEGO bricks through LEGO Replay, you can help share the power of play with children who need it most. Click here for more details.
Paint kindness rocks and hide them for others to find. Spread even more kindness throughout the community with a little fun rock painting — decorate rocks with special words or messages to brighten someone’s day.
Donate clothing or hygiene items to Mission House. Mission House provides assistance to homeless adults throughout the Jacksonville Beaches. Click here to access a list of items that are currently needed, including drop-off details.
Hold the door open for someone else. It’s a small gesture that can make a big difference — especially if you throw in your biggest smile!
Donate non-perishable food to a local food bank. Mandarin Food Bank, Jewish Family & Community Services, and Feeding Northeast Florida all gladly accept food donations.
Week of Dec. 26–Jan. 1
Draw happy pictures in chalk for neighbors to enjoy. Break out the sidewalk chalk and draw some fun pictures outside in front of your home for others to enjoy.
Help animals by donating to the Catty Shack Wildlife Sanctuary. Catty Shack relies on community donations to support their endangered big cats. Click here to access their Amazon Wish List.
Donate gently used books to the local library. The Jacksonville Public Library accepts books in good condition. Click here for the library’s donation policy.
Donate socks or underwear to the homeless shelter. New socks and underwear are one of the most requested items by the Trinity Rescue Mission and Sulzbacher Center, one of Jacksonville’s homeless shelters. Access Trinity Rescue Mission’s Wish List and Sulzbacher Center’s Wish List.
Make cards for the waste collection workers. Gift-giving season equals a lot of boxes and trash. Show your appreciation for waste collectors by making them a thank-you card!
Volunteer and spend time with the animals at Celestial Farms. Celestial Farms relies on volunteers to help keep their animals safe, happy, and healthy. Volunteers must fill out the volunteer form first.
Make a list of ways you can help others in 2023. Keep the kindness going and make a list of ways you can help others throughout next year.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids to show kindness to others?