When the National Hurricane Center forecasted Hurricane Harvey upon Houston, Texas, I never imagined the devastation that would occur.
Elementary schools all around Texas, Virginia, Florida and Georgia all want to help support Houston and the surrounding areas through this natural disaster. But how can kids and students help with disaster relief in Houston? How can kids serve others if they cannot muck out a house? Here are seven ways kids can help serve others after a disaster or trauma experience.
The good news is that you have time. Adults and teen volunteers are helping with the major things, Interfaith, Samaritan’s Purse (shoebox organization) and many others are helping. I know here in Houston Tyson’s Food donated over 30,000 lbs of chicken, boiled eggs, etc. Local restaurants are serving volunteers in the huge warehouses. People want to help so bad, and we want to help now!
But a lot of the flood victims don’t know where to start because they are so overwhelmed. From what I can tell, clothing being washed and having a place to sleep and eat is major importance.
I’ve been able to watch some talented people at my church. My friend Jen also started a Facebook group where those of us who couldn’t muck out houses could post creative ideas and needs. Amazing creativity!
Here are 7 ways kids can serve others after a devastating Hurricane like Harvey or Hurricane Irma. Kids can help donate to flood victims and hurricane survivors. The flood victims in Houston have like no front yard…their front yard looks like a hurricane went into their house and slammed it all onto their front yard.
One of my favorite ideas is from Fishbowl Family: 1) Make a pinwheel with encouraging messages. You can put them in pots filled with real dirt or sand. This is how kids can make a pinwheel with no brads and no pins: We start with 8.5 by 8.5 inch paper. You can use card stock, but pastel or decorated printer paper works better imo. You’ll also need pipe cleaners (any color) cut into 6 inches, scissors, single hole punch, small ceramic pots, stapler and wooden dowel rods with a dot 2 inches from one end. In hind sight, I’d get a bigger ceramic pot so that the dowel isn’t top heavy and fits more balanced in the pot.
Fold paper in half to make a triangle. Then do triangle the other way. Cut from each corner up toward center to an inch and a half from the mid of the paper.
Punch a hole in every other corner of each triangle. Decorate the corners that don’t have the hole punches with stickers, stamps, or a drawing.
Bend (don’t fold) each hole to the center (like where you would put a brad), being sure to line each hole on top of each other. Staple the center twice (but not on the circles). Pop up the bent parts again. Then using a pencil poke it through the circles. I figured out that you want to circles so that it’s easy to poke that pencil through. Otherwise, you will rip the paper trying to get the pencil through 5 pieces of paper.
Click on the YouTube above to actually see how easy this is.
Wrap the little part of the pipe cleaner around your dowel 3 times, slide it off and push it through the holes so that from the front all you see is like the center part of a flower.
Then with those inches that are hanging through, you will secure that to your dowel. You want your dowel to stick up an inch or two to give the pinwheel some support up top so wrap very tightly the pipe cleaner around that mark-above and below. So 3 times around underneath that mark and 3 times above that mark.
You can always just order a pinwheel kit-$9 for 24. I cannot recommend it, but that’s an option.
2) Another way kids can serve others is by helping animals who have been displaced during a Hurricane. I got this idea from withmycamera.com as well as the additional step. You need one old adult tee per child. Cut three inch wide by 20-24 inch long strips. Each child needs 3 strips. I’m using a size Medium Mossimo tee from Target.
I prefer putting the seamed ends together. Bunch them all together and tie one knot in the top. Braid them and tie again at the end. The edges don’t need to be exact, nor do the lengths.
If you have a super hero who can drill a hole in opposite sides of a tennis ball and make each hole huge with a box cutter, you can stuff the braid through and you’d have a ball attached.
3) Kids can help hurricane victims at a center during the day. You’d have donated race cars, kids socks from the dollar store, erasers, crayons, stickers, toothbrushes from your local dentist, just any trinkets you may get from Oriental Trading or somewhere. Each child will fill each water bottle with these little gifts and an encouraging card/letter to the victim.
4) Another way kids can serve is with a Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat night. Kids in our neighborhood went on a random Sunday night, dressed in Halloween costumes. The trick is that they’re collecting canned goods and those kinds of foods. Adults rolled strollers and coolers around their neighborhood to hold all the cans.
5) Adopt a Classroom: Pennies for Pupils, Pennies for the Penny-less, Funds for Florida I noticed one called Suns and Second Grade. There are forms to fill out to adopt a classroom. An elementary school here is now meeting in a closed down community college; those teachers have nothing! I just can’t imagine. I cannot imagine.
I’ll link the sign up below.
To sign-up: https://goo.gl/forms/5A3G7CZMZwRnfpta2
For more information: http://sunsandsecondgrade.blogspot.com/2017/08/adopt-texas-classroom-faq.html
6) Fleece blanket – Each child needs a square yard. First cut out a right triangle from each corner. Then cut 3 inch slits all around the blanket. Then start tieing (how do you spell that?!) two strips at a time all around the blanket.
7) Stuffed Animals – It’s a thing for firemen to give to trauma victims. I recommend NOT giving these to a large organization because they will be heaped on top of each other in the middle of a warehouse and get dirty and dingy. Instead, contact a local firemen that someone in your school knows. He will tell you how many they would accept, etc.
8) Bonus: I just saw that a school in Alabama is having Hats for Harvey day. They just wear hats and donate coins that day in the lobby of the school. What an easy, fun idea!
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