A home is so much more than just a structure. What you do and say in your home speaks volumes to your children. Our childhood memories are about more than the size of our parents' house but what went on inside. More importantly, we need to realize that memories are created with active participation. A recent presentation from local charities reminded us that charities are closely tied to what happens in everyone's home, to varying degrees.
Habitat for Humanity Anchorage (HFHA)
Remodeling and don't know where to take those "slightly used, but still working" items? If you don't need or want to sell those items at a garage sale, consider donating them to Habitat's ReStore. If you're unsure about making a donation, or if the item is too big for you to transport, call ReStore.
HFHA partners with families and the community to build or renovate affordable homes for families in need. A chosen family buys the home at cost with no interest but provides more than 500 hours of labor. The family also receives mentoring in basic home ownership and financial skills to help ensure a successful outcome. Volunteers are welcome to help and, other than a willingness to help another family, no experience is necessary.
Food Bank of Alaska (FBA)
One in six Anchorage residents needs help getting enough food to eat. Celebrating 35 years of helping Anchorage residents, FBA partners with more than 60 other agencies in an Anti-Hunger Network. In 2013, they gave out 6 million pounds of food, of which more than 4 million was donated. FBA also accepts surpluses of fish and locally grown fresh food.
A surge of donations is typical during the holidays. However, summer brings a critical need for food donations when kids no longer have easy access to school breakfast and lunch programs. These twice-a-day meals are a significant source of food for many youngsters. So remember FBA when you clear out your pantry or make a Costco run.
Giving can also be more than just monetary. Here are a few other ideas for ways to involve your children:
As the snow melts and you start planting seedlings for this year's garden, set aside a plant or two with plans to donate the harvest.
If you are moving out of town or across town, consider donating those extra canned goods to FBA or an equivalent favorite.
If you are clearing out the freezer, don't throw out your freezer-burned meat and fish. Consider contributing the items to Bird TLC or the Anchorage Zoo. Both organizations have some limitations on what foods they can take, so call first.
Bird TLC (Treatment and Learning Center) is a nonprofit organization that works to rehabilitate sick, injured or orphaned wild birds. They also provide outreach programs to educate the public about the importance of bird habitats around the home and community.
The Anchorage Zoo, another nonprofit organization, is a favorite spot to take visiting family and friends to see arctic, sub-arctic and similar animals they can't see back home.
All these charities are closely tied to house and home. They show how important these values of home are to us as a community. Help your children understand that giving isn't something we do only during special seasons. Involving your children in giving throughout the year offers many teachable moments. Help your children actively work for a charity this year to create memories and community involvement for years to come.
Barbara and Clair Ramsey are local associate brokers specializing in residential real estate. Their column appears every month in the Daily News. Their email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barbara and Clair Ramsey