Get Kids Involved in Giving

December 01, 2010

The holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving has come and gone, the time for celebrating with family and friends is here


The holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving has come and gone, the time for celebrating with family and friends is here, and as we mentioned in yesterday’s column, “How Hunger Sensitive Are Your Stores,” this is also the season for donating some of your time and resources to those less fortunate.  The Lempert Report supports the importance of getting kids involved with their food at a younger age to instill nutritious habits among other things, but also this year and the years to come, we believe there are several essential lessons kids can learn from donating food to those less fortunate as well as opportunities for retailers to leave lasting impressions. 
Obviously the most effective learnings will come from families; but supermarkets and CPG brands can do their fair share by reinforcing and supporting these ideas and even add these suggestions to your website and circulars (you don’t even have to give us credit!). Teach kids how to budget, give them a set amount to spend and demonstrate how to compare prices on similar items. Doing this not only forces kids to use the math skills they are taught in school out of the classroom, but also teaches them to read labels comparing ingredients and nutrition facts. Reading nutrition labels to compare similar items can also turn into a lesson about how packaged foods are made; ingredients listed first are the primary ingredients used to make the food. Encouraging kids to choose products with fruits, vegetables and whole grains at the top of the list, rather than sugar and refined flour, reinforces healthy eating behaviors and their importance even to those in need.  
Whether it be through school programs, or family outings retailers ought to reach out to kids to encourage and support giving this holiday season. Whether kids earn coupons for their next visit, frequent shopper points, a complimentary cooking session, cake decorating kit or seeds for their home garden, hosting in-store programs gives back in more ways than one. Teaming up with local dieticians, nutritionists or those in-store, to create a healthy charitable scavenger hunt, featuring items that can be useful in food banks and soup kitchens, will have kids excited and subliminally learning invaluable life lessons.  
Another charitable holiday activity for kids is to start a food drive in combination with their local supermarket. Many grocery stores already have donation barrels out for the holidays, but teaming up with a local school or certain age groups, creating a bit of competition may very well drive donations while teaching kids the importance of giving.  
Teaching children life lessons is never time wasted. Take the opportunity this holiday season to demonstrate to the kids in your community that charity is rewarding and fun.