To really get into the spirit of the season, tap the breaks on your lists and shopping, and instead take your tots to a local organization that makes volunteering with the little ones a breeze. From packing food boxes to working on service projects at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta hospitals, these groups welcome volunteers of all sizes. Read on for everything you need to know about pitching in as a family.

Photo: Atlanta Moms Making a Difference via Facebook

Atlanta Moms Making a Difference

Founded by Red Tricycle Power Mom Carolyn Patterson as a way for Atlanta moms to volunteer with their children, this organization hosts monthly birthday parties for the mothers and children of My Sister’s House (the Atlanta Mission’s women’s shelter), a back to school drive, and seasonal events (including a gift drive and delivery during a special afternoon dubbed Cookies with Santa). Kids of all ages are welcome to join their parents in the volunteer projects of Atlanta Moms Making a Difference, whether it’s as they host birthday parties at My Sister’s House or pitch in on seasonal opportunities that are created with the goal of parent-child volunteerism in mind.

How to Get Involved
Email atlmomsmakingadifference@gmail.com to find out about upcoming volunteer opportunities.

Online: atlantamomsmakingadifference.com

Photo: FurKids via Facebook

Fur Kids

Furkids, Atlanta’s largest rescue and no kill animal shelters, has volunteer opportunities for kids of all ages. Kids ages 9 & up can help serve as a Santa’s helper during pet photos (one of the organizations largest fundraisers) at select metro-Atlanta adoption centers during the first three weekends of December, and kids of all ages are invited to serve as Team Captains for fundraising or supply drives—just check out FurKids’ wish list here.

How to Get Involved
Contact FurKids’ volunteer manager volunteer@furkids.org.

Online: furkids.org

Photo: Meals by Grace via Facebook

Meals by Grace

Created to prepare and provide meals to families with limited or no transportation, Meals by Grace also offers a community pantry every Tuesday and Thursday for those in need who are able to transport themselves. For families looking to volunteer together, the first Sunday of every month is called “Kids in the Kitchen” and is an opportunity for children younger than 13 to participate in meal prep for families in need.

How to Get involved: 
Direct volunteer questions to volunteer@mealsbygrace.org.

Online: mealsbygrace.org

CHOA

Photo: CHOA

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Sometimes love is the best medicine. Children’s Healthcare offers a Young Kids program for kids in Kindergarten through fifth grade. While volunteers don’t meet with patients directly, they work on a special service project around the hospital that will directly benefit them.

How to Get involved: Watch for Young Kids dates and participation details to be posted here.

Online: choa.org

Photo: Ronald McDonald HC via flickr 

Ronald McDonald House

For families who have little one in the hospital for an extended time, the Ronald McDonald House provides them with a place to stay and daily warm meals. Children ages 9 and up can volunteer onsite with adult supervision, or you can tackle a project—collecting toiletries or putting together activity bags for siblings—for ARMHC offsite, then deliver your offering to the house together.

How to Get involved: Contact anna.blocker@armhc.org for volunteering near Scottish Rite, or catherine.lewis@armhc.org for volunteering near Eggleston.

Online: armhc.org

Photo: Hands on Atlanta via Facebook

Hands on Atlanta Family Service Saturdays

This volunteer program designed especially for families with children ages 5-12 consists of a monthly project chosen to expose young volunteers to a different community. Projects vary but typically focus on addressing hunger, homelessness, and the needs of our elders. This is limited to approximately 40 families, but everyone in the family is welcome to join the project.

How to Get involved: Contact nharris@handsonatlanta.org.

Online: www.handsonatlanta.org

How do you volunteer with the kiddos? Tell us in the comments section below.

—Shelley Massey