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The Gift Of Giving

We’ve heard it said that it is better to give than to receive, so how can we instill these values into children and youth?

This month, LFNS will be giving you a few top charities we feel do an authentic job in supporting our community as well as provide ways for children to help those who may be in need. Taking action by doing and teaching is by far the best way to role model these values to others, especially children. 

Viste is Volunteers in Service to Elderly. Located at 1232 E. Magnolia St, Lakeland, Fl, Viste works with the elderly by delivering meals, transportation and other needed assistance. We recently asked Tess Tapia, a coordinator for the program, how children can become involved. “So during the holidays we do a lot of deliveries and often people will donate crafts that kids make and we include it as an added treat. It could be a Holiday card, some sort of coloring project, if it's cute and would fit in a box or bag we're happy to pass it on to clients!” If your children love to be crafty and have a creative style, making crafts to add in delivery bags is a great idea! Tess would like to remind everyone that you may volunteer to deliver meals and/or drop off crafts and cards to the address listed above between 8a-4p until December 17th.

Noah’s Ark of Central Florida is another great organization in the area that works with adults living with disabilities. Noah’s Ark includes their community members in many outreach programs around Lakeland and in return, are supported by many groups and members for their work. My family has been involved with Noah’s Ark from the very beginning and when speaking with one of the founding members which is also my aunt, Margaret McNutt about ways children could help Noah’s Ark during the holidays, she provided me with great ideas. One HUGE way families can help during the holidays and year round is by supporting Noah’s Ark through Amazon Smile. When using Amazon Smile, add Noah’s Ark as an organization and Amazon will donate a percentage to the program. Also, discussing with your children and family ways you can organize your own fundraiser, whether you’d like to donate gently used clothing, shoes, art/craft materials, sports equipment or electronic entertainment. Volunteering time is also a great way to get to know the residents as well as ways you may come involved. 

KidsPACK has worked hard to provide over 300 thousand meals to children in Polk County and surrounding counties. They are a local non-profit located at 3725 Frontage Road North, Suite 1, Lakeland, Fl 33810. Out of all the goodness that makes up this organization, ACTION is what they stand for. With the help of volunteers and donations, they are able to feed children over the weekend. On the kidsPACK’s website ( you can read a wonderfully thoughtful write up by Cindy S. Adams. I’d like to share with you one of the pieces I took the most away from; “When this initiative was started before the 2011-2012 school year, they fed 449 homeless or hungry children in 31 Polk County public schools.  The 2012-2013 school year, the project expanded their program to include Hillsborough and Hardee County, where they have been approved by local public school administration and oversight.  Today, the project is in all three counties, Polk, Hillsborough and Hardee where they have fed more than 1700 children in 73 different schools.Today, well over seven thousand registered homeless, hungry children attend our local county schools here in the Heartland. Broken down, this enormous number translates as one in every five children in our communities, and counties throughout Florida, suffering from a severe lack of food.” If you are interested in helping out kidsPACK by volunteering your time or donating funds, please reach out by emailing: or calling their main line: (863) 272-7927

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