Volunteering with Kids in the Southwest Suburbs

‘Tis the season of giving, comfort, and love.  The holiday season is a great time to teach children about giving, not only of gifts or money, but also our time.  Volunteering is amazingly rewarding.  There are many ways to volunteer – helping out a food pantry, hosting a bake sale for a cause, or even as simple as helping out a neighbor with household chores.  Some of these volunteer opportunities look for extra help around the holidays, but many need help year round.  Perhaps it could turn into a regular event for you and your family?  What better way to share the spirit of the season than lending a hand where it is most needed.

Operation Christmas Child Volunteers, courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

Volunteering with Kids in the South Suburbs

Upcoming Events

Feed My Starving Children MobilePack
November 2 – 3, 2018
First Presbyterian Church – Joliet
805 Western Ave.
Joliet, IL 60435
(815) 727-9259

Bring the whole family to help hand-pack nutritious meals to be sent to schools, orphanages, clinics and feeding programs in 70 countries. Volunteers must be 5 years of age or older. If you can’t attend this Joliet event, consider volunteering at another MobilePack event or at one of the the organization’s permanent packing sites in Aurora, Libertyville or Schaumburg.  I have personally experienced this volunteer opportunity, and it is wonderfully organized.  It is a great opportunity for a family- large or small. Register at fmsc.org.

Stockings For Our Troops
November 12, 9:00 am12:00 pm
The Oaks Recreation & Fitness Center
10901 W La Porte Road
Mokena, IL 60448

Spend Veterans Day helping make the holidays brighter for our troops overseas by decorating and stuffing stockings and sending handwritten holiday greetings. Supplies are provided, but donations of fabric, craft items and holidays cards are appreciated. Registration is not required.

Operation Christmas Child 
National Collection Week
November 12-19

Help make Christmas magical for less fortunate kids around the world by preparing shoeboxes filled with small toys, hygiene items and school supplies.  This is another opportunity my family has completed.  My kids love shopping for the little items for the shoeboxes, and they loved coloring pictures to include.  Visit samaritanspurse.org for more information about what to pack in your shoebox, as well as to find a drop-off location near you. Here are a few in our area:

First Baptist Church
314 E Briarcliff Road
Bolingbrook, IL 60440

Moraine Valley Church
6300 W 127th Street
Palos Heights, IL 60463

Our Savior Lutheran Church
1910 Black Road
Joliet, IL 60435

Lighthouse Fellowship
8128 W Lincoln Highway
Frankfort, IL 60423

Springbrook Community Church
11247 S Heggs Road
Plainfield, IL 60585

First Baptist Church of Manteno
300 East 3rd Street
Manteno, IL 60950

Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities

South Suburban Humane Society
1103 West End Ave.
Chicago Heights, IL 60411
(708) 755-7387

Help make a difference in the lives of homeless animals by making a six-month volunteering commitment (four hours per month). Volunteers must be 12 years of age or older; volunteers aged 12-15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Apply at southsuburbanhumane.org.

St. John Lutheran Church Food Pantry
2650 Plainfield Road
Joliet, IL 60435
(815) 439-2320

Join other volunteers of all ages and backgrounds at a Mobile Food Pantry event, where together you’ll serve 30,000 pounds of food to 300 families in just three hours. Register at stjohnfood.org.

Ronald McDonald House
4410 W. 93rd Street
Oak Lawn, IL 60453
(708) 423-5285

Gather your group to plan and prepare a homemade meal or bake cookies for Ronald McDonald House guest families in the facility’s fully equipped kitchen. Apply at rmhccni.org.

Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens
7402 W. Lake Katherine Drive
Palos Heights, IL 60463
(708) 361-1873

Spend a morning or full day enjoying nature with your family as you help maintain and beautify the Lake Katherine grounds. For more information, email Volunteer.LakeK@lakekatherine.org.

Will County Humane Society
24109 W. Seil Road
Shorewood, IL
(815) 741-0695

Spend some time caring for homeless pets with your older kids. Children must be 13 years or older and accompanied by an adult to volunteer. Apply at willcountyhumane.com.

Habitat for Humanity
Will County HFH
(815) 726-1880
Gather together in a group setting to work toward building a home for a deserving family. Many projects require a child to be at least 16 years old, but there are a few opportunities for younger children. Youth programs are also available.

For more ideas and opportunities for volunteering with kids, visit doinggoodtogether.org.

About the Author

Kristen Sheehan
Kristen is a Burbank native who settled with her family in New Lenox in 2016. She loves her new neighborhood and could not be happier with her new home. Kristen and her husband have three amazing children – two daughters, ages five years and four months, and a two year-old son. She also has a furry shih-tzu baby, who is 10 years old. The kids are active and energetic, but Kristen enjoys providing a mix of structured play/activities and downtime at home. She is passionate about keeping her family healthy and happy. During the winter, Kristen likes to go sledding and skating – as well as experiencing indoor play spaces. During the summer, she loves getting outside with her family – playgrounds, festivals, fairs, picnicking, bike riding, and trips to the zoo. Her kids love helping in the kitchen, and Kristen enjoys cooking and baking with them!

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