One of my goals this and every holiday season, is to give back as much as possible. Paying it forward in many little ways and donating toys, food and money to local charities.
While we do give back through the year, we focus on this more during the holiday season, since it’s that time of year to recognize your blessings and try to extend cheer and goodwill to those less fortunate. Plus, it’s Christmas – and at this particular time, no-one should go without the basics life life or even one small present to put a smile on their face.
Through our efforts, my children know the importance of giving back, they never hesitate to help others or give back when given the opportunity.
As you know, I post monthly regarding my involvement with the #BarbieProject, where I focus on observations of play with Barbie. When asked my thoughts on a December topic when working with the brand – I didn’t have to think twice on what I wanted to accomplish this month.
I wanted to give back and had my choice of charity when doing so.
As you may recall, my oldest daughter had a heart procedure at 18 months old. It’s a life event and experience that will forever be etched on my heart and in my mind. Knowing what parents, the family and even the children themselves, go through during something like this – I never refuse donating to children’s charities. Every bit matters.
I wanted to give back with Barbie, to our local Ronald McDonald House, one of the newest houses built in Canada. They have done amazing things for our community thus far, and its presence makes a tremendous difference for families utilizing our city hospital.
Ronald McDonald Houses provide a home away from home for the families of seriously ill children who are staying at a nearby hospital. Our Houses offer families so much more than just a roof over their heads. They have qualified staff and dedicated volunteers who are committed to taking care of the day-to-day essentials of running a home, so families don’t have to worry about them. They have programs that offer everything from education to meditation. And they are filled with many different families who all share a common bond – love for their sick child.
To donate to our Ronald McDonald House, I received a shipment of Barbie toys thanks to my friends at Mattel. Before we delivered the toys, I was doing some housecleaning, Christmas prep and started wrapping presents for my girls. After wrapping, I came across some Barbie toys that were intended for my own children, a shipment from the company as part of my involvement with the #BarbieProject.
I thought about the presents waiting for them under the tree, and all that they have been blessed with through the year. Did they truly need more?
I approached the subject with my girls, being honest in saying that these toys were theirs – but asked if it was alright for them to be given to the children at the Ronald McDonald House instead.
Once again – I waved some Barbie toys that were new in boxes, right in front of my kids faces and said, ‘these are yours but lets give them away”.
There was a pause from my kids as they stared at the boxes, as expected – they are kids after all, and these are new Barbie dolls and playsets which just appeared out of mid-air, and they were being waved in their faces! Yet after a minute of digesting the situation, they replied, “It’s ok Mom, we have lots. Good idea“.
Now, I could have decided this on my own and they’d have been none the wiser – yet I wanted to see their reaction. I now know that they are willing to give what’s theirs to others in need. I was very proud of my kids for their willingness, like a notch in the ‘you are succeeding at this’ parenting belt.
On our donation day, I picked up the girls from school with the Barbie toys for donation loaded in the back of the vehicle. Each of my ladies carried an arm-load of toys into the Ronald McDonald House, so excited to give all these toys.
We were met with some shock with why we were donating so many brand new Barbie items, yet after an explanation, gratitude was evident. While we couldn’t look around the house nor meet any of the families staying there, we were assured that the toys were going to go to very good homes – kids that needed a smile on their face this holiday season.
For families staying at the Ronald McDonald House, giving toys isn’t just giving something to pass the time. Giving Back with Barbie is gifting play and imagination. Perhaps some children will be taken away from their daily challenges, to a far land and a great adventure and as far as their mind stretches.
This year many will have to spend their holiday season at the Ronald McDonald House, but the play that Barbie provides will take them beyond those walls and away from the hospital.
On the way home from donating, Miss Katie once again asked questions about the house and the families that might be there. It’s something we had covered before when the Ronald McDonald House was first built in our city, yet she must have needed the reassurance.
After I answered and explained as best I could, the kids were completely silent for the rest of the ride home, just staring out the window and thinking. I’m confident that this experience made a positive impact on my kids as it did myself.
It’s not too late to give this holiday season, and when you do – remember that your donation means more than the tangible item that it is, like a Barbie for example. For the recipient it means so much more, and perhaps at a time when they need it most.
I am apart of The Barbie Project and I receive special perks as part of my
affiliation. The opinions are, as always, my own. . .