More Time for New Family Traditions, like Volunteering

Many of the autumn traditions that serve as the foundation of your family time together — your kids’ sports seasons, recitals, concerts, and theatrical performances, to name a few – have been put on hold.

But as always, there’s a silver lining: You now have time to start new traditions.

Take, for example, volunteering as a family.

Volunteering is a great way for families to spend time together — and show your children how their efforts can make a difference, regardless of the individual activity. Giving your time and energy to projects that benefit your entire community gives the younger people in your life wonderful examples of how small, simple acts can have a significant impact on the lives of people around you. 

To make the most of your family fun time this fall, consider trying out a few of these volunteer activities.

Clean up your local park

You’ll never find anyone complaining that there’s not enough litter around. The more popular or pristine natural places around you likely have community organizations associated with them. Google “friends of” and the name of a local landmark and you’re almost sure to find one.

When you contact them to organize or join a trash-pickup event, they will most likely to jump at the chance to welcome you.

Help a local trail association spruce things up

Local trail systems don’t repair themselves. After a long summer of hikers, runners, and mountain bikers, your local trail system is likely to be a little worse for wear.

So if running the trails is your thing, consider helping one of the trail-keeping groups spread crushed stone, repair footbridges, clearing away brush, or even carving out new trails.

Spend time at a food bank

The economic upheaval caused by the recent coronavirus pandemic has left some 12.3 million Americans out of work since February. Combined with broad unemployment, this only compounds the problem for those who don’t have access to food.

According to, as of 2018, 37 million people in the U.S. (11.5 percent), do not have enough to eat on a regular basis. By volunteering at a local food bank, you are helping others in your community meet their most basic needs.

Join drive-by parades at local senior homes

Never heard of them? Drive-by parades are new ways to provide residents of senior care facilities with a bit more interaction with the outside community, even if through a window. Social distancing and other restrictions have left these residents with even less interaction with the outside world than in normal times. Ask a few of your friends and neighbors to participate in your self-organized drive-by parades and know that you made someone smile.

Finish on the upswing

We all agree that having our beloved routines and traditions disrupted is no fun. But when you volunteer as a family this fall, you’re giving your family another, rare gift: the opportunity to close out a year to forget with memories that will last a lifetime.

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