7 Ways to Make a Difference in Kansas City (Ideas for Families)
We all understand the importance of giving back to others and making a difference in our community.
But determining how to make a difference can be hard.
So, here are 7 ideas for how to make a difference in Kansas City (big and small)
How to Make a Difference in Kansas City
We are always running an errand, taking the kids to activities and family functions, and/or worrying about our ever-growing to-do list.
But take the time this season to make a difference in someone else’s life. You’d be surprised at how much a small gesture or a couple of hours of your time can mean.
Get in the habit of actively seeking to brighten someone’s day while teaching your children to make a difference.
Also, be sure to bookmark and explore the 35 Best Places to Volunteer with Kids around town. You can find some great inspiration and ideas!
#1 Ask for Donations Instead of Gifts
As parents with young children, there always seems to be an occasion where we’re either giving or receiving gifts. Ask your friends and family to donate or give items in your honor at your next event. Here are a few ideas:
- Birthday parties are a great time to collect new toys, books, and games for organizations that impact kids in need. Children’s Mercy Hospital accepts brand new items year-round for patients staying at the hospital, and your family will have the opportunity to help support an incredible cause you can feel good about.
- Baby showers are another great opportunity to help give back to the community. Ask guests to bring an extra package of diapers, wipes, or other baby items to donate to a local shelter that will help support local women and children here in Kansas City. Or, donate them to Happy Bottoms!
- Holiday Meals provide the ideal time to ask friends and family to bring non-perishable pantry items to donate to a local organization or shelter. During the holiday season and colder months, food pantries can have trouble staying stocked with food. These items will make a difference and have a direct impact on the community. Larger organizations have boxes and barrels you can pick up, fill, and bring back, making the process very easy.
#2 Help US Military and Their Families
This USO article has great ideas and resources in their Five Ways You Can Help Deployed Soldiers:
Details on each of these are included at the site linked above.
- Say Thank you
- Send a Care Package
- Support military spouses during deployment
- Volunteer with the troops
- Donate to the USO
We’re adding a sixth option to this section:
- Donate and participate in the Wounded Warrior Project. Their programs are impactful in helping our wounded soldiers heal and find peace.
How Do You Make a Difference?
As a sponsor, you help them get acquainted with your sponsor area, socialize with them, and assist them with important services and needs if they have not set it up already. They may need assistance setting up a bank account, obtaining a cell phone, obtaining furniture for housing, getting a car, choosing a school for their child, and so on.
Other services you can provide to them include introducing them to area events and fun activities, joining them at military social engagements, sharing holidays and traditions, and helping them to make new contacts.
The sponsorship web page states that “sponsorship” does not involve financial support but does include the commitment to develop and nurture a personal relationship with officers and their families. Simply put, sponsorship is spending time with officers as their time allows and extending hospitality to their families.
I encourage you to help sponsor this coming spring or summer. Be sure to get your application in early if you have a preference for a particular country. Applications and requests are first come, first served.
How can you get involved?
Go online to learn more information on becoming an International Sponsor.
Becoming a member of the Greater Kansas City People to People Program is free and only takes a bit of your time to get started. Once you’re a sponsor and assigned to an officer, you will have an orientation meeting to discuss your responsibilities & make plans!
#3 Donate Your Things to Make a Difference
Make a big difference by decluttering your home or finding unused things! You can donate gently used items, clothing, small appliances, furniture, and electronics to organizations that own and operate local charities in Kansas City, such as Shelter KC Rescue Mission, Habitat KC Restore, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of KC.
Not only does this benefit those in our community who need assistance with free and affordable items, but it also helps us keep the clutter at bay.
If you’ve got the extra time to spare and are feeling up to the task, you can host a garage sale! The extra income gives you the opportunity to make a difference right here at home.
By donating some or all of the garage sale money to local organizations, you can directly impact children and families here in KC.
#4 Volunteer Your Time
There is no shortage of opportunities to volunteer in Kansas City. There are many metro area organizations you can give back to that will directly impact your neighbors.
Here are three places you can make a difference in Kansas City: (find 26 more in our KC volunteering guide)
- Hospitals: There are many ways high school and college students as well as adults here in the metro area can volunteer time at Children’s Mercy. They provide several options for volunteers of every age and ability to get involved and make a difference.
- Mentor a Child in Need: Kids Hope USA is a national program that matches volunteers with students. Research shows that the common factor in determining a child’s future success is whether they have stable, committed, and healthy relationships with adults in their lives. For Kids Hope USA students, one of those relationships gets to be with their mentor. It only requires one hour per week.
- Diaper Bank: Diapering children is expensive, and it’s a need that isn’t covered by social programs. Check out Happy Bottoms, a diaper bank in Kansas City!
- Food Bank: There are several opportunities for volunteering in the warehouse of our local food bank that collects non-perishable items to distribute to families in need. You can spend time organizing, sorting, and packaging items that will go out into the community.
#5 Your Date Night Can Make a Difference
Date nights are such an important part of maintaining a healthy marriage when you’re parenting.
Attending special events and fundraisers not only provides you with a fun evening out with your significant other but also makes a difference in our local KC community.
So, you won’t be giving up your night out by attending special fundraising activities around the metro; you will be supporting incredible organizations around town. There are great fundraising events, like the Bubble Ball for Make a Wish, that support a fantastic cause! There are tons of local non-profits and charities that host annual balls and fundraisers. Find one that speaks to you and buy a ticket to their next event!
#6 Make Dinner for Another Family
If you know of any local families who are going through a hard time, cook a meal for them.
This small gesture can go a long way toward making a difference for their family. You can also volunteer at places like NourishKC, a restaurant serving the less fortunate.
#7 Make a Difference with Kindness: 60 Acts of Kindness
Take a few minutes and remind your children of the importance of compassion & connection. We are our children’s greatest teachers.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Offer to rake or mow a neighbor’s lawn
- Give your waiter or waitress a generous tip
- Let a manager know when you receive good customer service
- Write your child’s teacher a thank-you note
- Have your child write their teacher a thank-you note
- Encourage your child to compliment the cafeteria staff at school or have them draw a picture
- Deliver flowers to one of your best friends
- Mail your parents a handwritten thank-you card
- Write your partner a love letter
- Write sweet compliments to your children on your bathroom mirror (dry-erase markers work great!)
- Bake your neighbors some cookies or a cake
- Leave a bottle of water and an encouraging note in your mailbox to your mail carrier
- Send your pastor an email and let them know how much you appreciate them
- Bring your child’s daycare teacher doughnuts
- Send your children’s grandparents your kid’s artwork in the mail
- Mail your family members printed pictures of you and your kids
- Offer to walk your neighbor’s dog
- Offer to babysit so a friend or family member can have a night off
- Let someone go in front of you in line at the store
- Donate a new or gently used coat for kids (and adults) in need
- Leave a happy note in a library book for someone to find later
- Write and send a letter to someone in the military thanking them for their service
- Write notes of encouragement and leave them on a car windshield in a parking lot
- Create encouraging notes in sidewalk chalk on local sidewalks
- Invite some friends over to dinner
- Tell your kid(s) 15 things you love about them
- Call your grandparents
- Go on Facebook and leave a positive comment on 20 photos
- Give your partner a massage
- Sign up to ring the bell for the Salvation
- Find opportunities to give compliments. It costs nothing, takes no time, and could make someone’s entire day.
- On any holiday, remember any friends who lost a parent the previous year and check in with them. Those will be tough days for them
- Put a surprise note or sketch in with your spouse’s or kid’s lunch
- Take an hour to write the amazing people in your life a letter telling them why they’re awesome. Some people still love getting letters!
- Adopt a family for Christmas
- Get the whole family involved in a community service or volunteer project.
- Find creative ways to support our troops and Vets
- ALWAYS say “Thank you” when you see someone in a uniform
- Bring dinner to your local police station or fire station
- Buy an extra cup of coffee in the morning and give it to a co-worker
- Plan a scavenger hunt for your kids
- Donate your blood at a blood drive
- Tell someone you’ve fought with that you’re sorry and that you forgive them
- Leave extra time in a parking meter
- Encourage someone who is working hard at the gym
- Cook a meal for your partner
- Attend recitals and games for the kids of your friend(s)
- Offer to pick up your friend’s children after school
- Shower the pediatric wing of a hospital with coloring supplies
- Give a loved one your undivided attention
- Attend an event without your phone
- Give your child a big hug
- Write yourself an “I am proud of you” letter
- Buy yourself a journal and use it every day
- Call your best friend
- Plan a family vacation
- Go visit an out-of-town relative
- Make a funny family video
- Support a friend’s business and buy something from them
- Give back by shopping locally
How do you show kindness around the holidays and throughout the year? We’d love to hear about your simple acts. Share your kindness with us!
We would, of course, love to hear your ideas too! Email us your kindness and volunteer ideas.
And make sure you sign up for our eNews so you don’t miss a thing on the latest and greatest happenings for KC parents, kids, and families!
From our family to yours, iFamilyKC.