Giving back! That’s what family philanthropy is all about.
Parents bringing their children to Valley of the Sun United Way volunteer events, teaching their children about the impacts of hunger and the fact that some kids go to bed hungry; explaining about homelessness and how some families and kids sleep on sidewalks, benches, couches, or wherever they can find a safe place. Family philanthropy is also about helping those in need with monetary donations.
Recently, families turned out for United Way’s WeekEnd Hunger Backpack volunteer event at the Community Impact Center in Phoenix. Wallace Oldhal brought his 5-year-old son, Wallace, to the family philanthropic event.
“We’re very fortunate as a family, he’s very fortunate as a child,” said Wallace. “We just had a birthday party where he got a ton of stuff so I wanted to make sure that he had the ability to give back to the community, especially the community we live in.”
And that includes teaching his kids not to waste food. “It’s a big push for us as we go through dinner time,” said Wallace. “He and his sister, who have food at home, we want to make sure that he understands that there are people out there who don’t get to eat every meal and that he’s not being wasteful when we’re at the table.”
All five members of the Bookspan family participated at the WeekEnd Hunger Backpack volunteer event, as well. “My daughter’s doing a project on hunger and food and we thought it was a good way for all of us to volunteer,” said Jennifer Bookspan. “It was a good event for all of us to participate in.”
Her 7-year-old son Judah was there along with 11-year-old daughter Ava who said thinking about other kids being hungry “makes me sad.” Their brother, 16-year-old Asher said,
“It kind of puts in perspective on how many kids that are going to bed without food but it’s also really cool that there are so many people here to help out with it and try and make a change.”
Ann Ramirez brought her two kids to the family philanthropic event. “We brought them out to give back to our community that has done so much for us in the past,” Ann said, adding that it’s hard to believe some kids go to bed hungry. “It’s frightening and scary. And we are just so happy we’re able to help out.”
“It makes me feel good because there are a lot of people that aren’t as fortunate as me and all the people who go to my school,” said 15-year-old Omar. “And this is making them feel good, it’s making them happy.” As a result of this volunteer experience, Omar said he’s going to encourage his friends to volunteer.
If you’re not able to make it to one of United Way’s volunteer events, you can participate in plenty of at-home activities such as writing encouragement cards that are tucked into the WeekEnd Hunger Backpacks and assembling teacher supply kits. Visit vsuw.org/athome for assembly guides and instructions.