April 7, 2010

Life Lesson: Teaching Gratitude with a Side of Math!

Zach and I headed over to Food Gatherers today for their Family Volunteer Day - Which was really a block of 90-minutes instead of all day. It was a great activity for him, very age appropriate, and was just long enough to hold his attention for a lesson in being socially responsible by helping others.

My first objective, was to make sure that he understood what the Food Gatherers organization was about. I settled on telling him that Food Gatherers is a place where food is collected to give to those that can't afford to go buy groceries. A clearer explanation for him though came while we were driving when I mentioned the "food bank warehouse" and Zach pipped up "You mean it's like the bank where I put my college money?" "Actually yes that's exactly what it is. Food Gatherers takes food from people like you and I (we brought a few cans to donate which helped) and then stores it for people who need groceries. Families can then take their groceries out of the bank!" That still doesn't completely encompass what Foodgatherer's is, but it worked easily enough and further explanation came when we were inside volunteering.

Zach and I were actually assigned to the Carrot Cake Crew (or maybe that was what we called it!) where we created 2-pound bags of carrot cake mix from larger bulk bags. I was thrilled to do this too because not only was it a lesson in volunterring, but this job was a quick "math lesson" as well: 

"We have 3 bags already packaged Zach, how many more do we need to reach 8?"

"Each box needs 16 bags of cake mix and there are 11 already there. How many more bags do we need to put into the box?"

Zach thoroughly enjoyed being the one to scoop the cake mix into the bag on a scale, he also really liked watching the scale adjust until he got each bag weighed just right.  He was a tad on the short side though and complained - only briefly - that his arms were hurting. (I don't blame him at all!) So instead he sealed the bags and carried them over to the packing boxes.

He and I bagged around 36 bags of mix, and never once did he ask to go home! He didn't even mind the clean up portion and grabbed the broom with glee... If only he volunteered to help like that at home!

If they asked I'm certain he would have wanted to stay all day...

Our morning was a great way to spend time together, to enjoy helping others and was a great way to instill gratitude into Zach. I would do it again in a heartbeat and will be watching very closely for more family volunteer days - If you would be interested in family volunteer opportunities, be sure to sign up for the Food Gatherers e-mail list.

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