Finding a family-centered activity or project that also has meaning and purpose is no easy task. It takes time to seek and vet organizations and then time to plan for your family to get involved-- that doesn't include the time you actually spend doing the activity, which can often be multiple days.
But it is possible-- and it is important! With hectic lives dictating how much or how little time you can spend together as a family, volunteering can be the perfect opportunity to spend quality time together.
We were recently contacted by a very busy family that discovered Soldiers' Angels during their quest to find a family-friendly philanthropic project. Their story proves that, no matter how busy you are, you can find time to come together and do something meaningful for a cause that you feel strongly about supporting.
In this case, the family is the Ayers Family and the cause they felt strongly about supporting was the Soldiers' Angels Blanket Drive.
The Ayers Family is no stranger to military service, which created a meaningful connection for the entire family when they learned about the Soldiers' Angels Blanket Drive.
"After Mr. Ayers retired from the Navy in 2014, we really wanted to get involved in some way to help serve the military community," said Mrs. Ayers. "Having been a Navy Family, we, along with our 3 children, have all had our fair share of challenges, sacrifices, etc. that comes with that life."
As most people would, they took to the internet to start researching organizations that support military service members. They had pretty specific parameters for what they were looking for-- it needed to be budget friendly and accept items vs. only cash. (TIP! Before you begin your quest for an organization to support, make a checklist of items that are important to you and be sure the organization you want to volunteer with meets all of your criteria. For example: How much time do you have to commit? How much money can you comfortably afford to invest or donate? Do you have any special skills that could be of value to a non-profit?)
"After looking online for reputable organizations, we found and then kept coming back to the Soldiers' Angels website," continued Mrs. Ayers. "We then decided to read everything on the website because we wanted to make an informed decision. We really wanted to support an organization that accepts physical items, that is an affordable option for nearly every budget. It is an opportunity for family members to choose items, which we feel makes the giving more personable. Too many other organizations out there seemed to just want cash donations."
They dug deep into Soldiers' Angels and, ultimately, chose us as their organization to support.
"Honestly, it was the stories from recipients as well as the reason stated as to why Soldiers' Angels was created, that really stood out to us, along with the fact that physical items are accepted."
Once they found us-- they were ready to get their entire family involved in the process.
Mrs. Ayers has been quilting since 1994. Taught by her Grandmother and Mother, this skill is something she is looking to pass down to her own children. When they saw the Soldiers' Angels Blanket Drive, they knew the project was a perfect fit for a philanthropic project they can do as a family.
"As soon as we heard about Soldiers' Angels 2018 Blanket Drive, we knew we had to participate. As a family, we chose and purchased the fabrics on Father's Day, June 17 and then we chose the patterns on Monday, June 18 and finished both Quilts this afternoon, June 20. Since they are both twin size it really didn't take that long."
As a busy mom myself, this story was so inspiring to me! I feel like it is very easy to say "Our family is so busy, we don't have time to volunteer..." or "We would give back more, but there's nothing we can all do together..."
But that's just not true-- with some research, you can find an organization that will work within your schedule, your level of availability, your budget, and, most importantly-- will inspire and enhance the unique talents of you and your family.
The Ayers Family created two beautiful works of art by volunteering their time as a family for an organization that has a personal meaning to them. Their beautiful quilts will have a direct impact on the lives of a deployed service member or veteran patient in a VA Hospital and... the best part... they never even had to leave their home (aside from shopping for the supplies, anyway!).
Soldiers' Angels has many opportunities available for volunteers of all types. Check below for a quick list of those opportunities-- but be sure to also follow the Soldiers' Angels Facebook Page as new opportunities pop up often!
If our organization doesn't meet your list of desired criteria for what you want to accomplish while giving back-- that's okay, we understand! But don't give up your search for an organization to support. As the saying goes, if we all do a little, we can accomplish a lot!
Here are some great resources where you can begin your quest for a nonprofit to support: