Philanthropy is simply voluntarily doing something to promote the welfare of another. Before the Great Depression that began in 1929, social welfare was largely assisted by individual and small group efforts. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal that began in 1933 included several social programs including Social Security. Though government has largely taken on the burden of ensuring for the public welfare, it is good to participate in acts of philanthropic kindness as individuals and families. Here are four ways to teach your kids philanthropy.

Volunteer to Serve Food

Almost every region has what is called a soup kitchen. These are places where food for the poor is prepared and served. Presenting children with the opportunity to see and serve those who do not have enough to eat on a daily basis is eye-opening and humbling. Food banks are another opportunity to volunteer. Most food banks need people to do everything from stock shelves to bagging items to be given to those in need. Serving others food can help you learn to appreciate the food you’re given each day to eat.  It’s always a good idea to get a sense of humility for everyday essentials that most of us take for granted.

Donate Time to Pet Shelters

Many pet shelters for homeless pets are run almost entirely by volunteers. Some shelters are funded by government funds, and others survive strictly on donations of time, money and material goods. You and your family can volunteer to walk dogs and help with things such as cleaning up pens and outdoor areas. You can also collect things the shelter needs from friends, family and neighbors. Most shelters keep a list online of things that are in perpetual need such as towels, blankets, cleaning supplies, and pet foods and treats. This will help make gathering these items together much easier.

Donate an Old Car to a Good Use

Automobile schools rely on having a vehicle for students to work on. A motor vehicle in a condition that would not net a good amount as a trade-in or for a direct sale would be valuable to a school, like the Newgate School, that teaches auto mechanics. Plus, you may be eligible for a better tax write off than what you would have gotten for the used vehicle if you sold it or junked it. This is an act of philanthropy that could also be a tax benefit to the giver.

Volunteer to Clean a Road of Litter

It’s not just for the work release program, anyone can volunteer to clean litter off of the road. Many states have an Adopt-a-Highway program where you and your family can volunteer to clean a section of a nearby public road of litter. The number of times you need to commit per year to pick up and bag litter along a roadway section varies. Your family will get a road sign erected in their name for the section of roadway adopted.

Children are never too young to teach philanthropy, whether it is giving of time, talents, skills or money to benefit others. Setting an example of giving freely to help others is beneficial for a functioning society where we live, work and play together.