Introducing children to their sense of community at an early age gives them a sense of belonging, ownership, and social concern. The holidays are the season of giving, and at KinderCare Education centers across the country, children learned just how satisfying it can be to help those in need.
A show of support despite the snow
District Manager Ann Zogg and her team volunteered at the fifth annual Cops-n-Kids book giveaway in Racine, XX. Each year, the event results in a donation of about 10,000 books to underprivileged children in the area. Even a snow storm couldn’t stop Ann and her staff from doing some good.
“All local law enforcement attend this event each year and hand out candy canes to children, answer questions, and take photos with them—the kids love it!” she said. “I’m so proud of this team. They tackled giant amounts of snow to get here and help make this event happen.”
Feeding those less fortunate
In New Jersey, two Center Directors took it upon themselves to supply their community with one of the most basic needs – food. Centers in Woodcliff Lake and Paramus collected donations for their local food banks.
“The wonderful children of Woodcliff Lake KinderCare came together to give back to the community through a canned food drive,” said Center Director Layth Bajes. “All of our canned goods and items were donated to the Pascack Food Center, which has served our community for over 40 years.”
“The Paramus KinderCare donated all of our contributions to the Center for Food Action,” said Center Director Stacey DeMarco. “The Center’s mission is to prevent hunger and improve the lives of individuals and families living in poverty. Our KinderCare families have donated so much and we’re so thankful for each and every one of them! My children and I have enjoyed bringing the contributions to the Center for Food Action ourselves! It was a great experience for everyone to get involved.”
KinderCare centers team up with law enforcement for toy drive
“Each year, we partner with our local police department to collect toys for less fortunate children during the holiday season,” said Center Director Jessica Epstein from Old Tappan, N.J. “We participate as a way to support children in need and connect with local members of our community. It feels great to give back and make a difference!
“Each year KinderCare in Huntington, N.Y. is a proud sponsor of Toys for Tots,” said Center Director Caitlin Knapp-Rice. “We feel that supporting the U.S. Marine Corps and our local community is the right thing to do. Once again this year, we proudly filled our entire donation box with toys. I’ve been with my center for 12 years now and lived locally my whole life – so I’ve seen families in need. It’s important for me to give back to our local community and those in need. Every little bit helps and I know we’re making a difference!”
Deck the halls!
“Here at Smithtown KinderCare we collected various household items for our local Ronald McDonald House at a local hospital,” said Center Director Crystal Treanor from Smithtown, N.Y. “We chose to take a collection for Ronald McDonald House to help sick children in our community. The KinderCare children made decorations that are going to be delivered to help spread holiday cheer in the children’s hospital rooms.”
Love for furry friends, too
“We didn’t want to forget our pets for the holidays!” said Center Director Danielle Hartman from Bohemia, N.Y. “We collected ‘blankets for pets’ for our local animal shelter. We collected blankets that families were no longer using, but were too cozy to just throw away. The children loved the thought of having a pet lying in their blankets – so sweet!”
A tree’s worth of gifts
Center Director Leanne Haynes in Newburyport, Mass., teamed up with a local shelter to find out just what families need to get them through the holiday season. Then, she set up a giving tree. Parents and staff could take a tag and return with a gift for someone in need.
“I started the Giving Tree tradition when I became a Center Director two years ago,” said Leanne. “I didn’t expect that it would catch on so fast, but parents look forward to it every year.”
Leanne said she even had a parent who bought something on sale over the summer in anticipation of this year’s tree.
“I love giving back to our community and I think it’s important,” said Leanne. “By giving simple things like gloves, hats, and your time, you’re making someone’s day better! If children learn these little things at a young age, my hope is that they will grow up to be amazing adults.”