NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — For a lot of kids the holiday season has turned a bit commercial with all the presents and wish lists, but there are ways to turn it around.
CBS2’s Cindy Hsu found a troop of Girl Scouts in New Jersey who are giving from the heart.
The members of Troop 20245 have been gathering travel size toiletries for the homeless, everything from toothbrushes to shaving cream. They even stood outside of stores asking customers to help donate some of the items.
The group Bridges Outreach will deliver the bags to the homeless and have helped teach the girls and important lesson.
“It’s good for kids when they’re young to know that they can really help out even though they’re not adults,” Ruby Luhrman said.
“Some people don’t have this opportunity to have an education, shelter, water, food, so we’re really giving back, especially near the holidays,” Emma Greenburg said.
Along with toiletries Bridges Outreach said the homeless really need clothing and on their website you can find a wishlist.
Just click on the Amazon list and you can buy jeans, winter boots, and coats for the homeless.
“Now that we see people don’t always get these, it makes us feel very thankful for what we have, and we just want to give it to other people too,” Skylar Smith explained.
Along with each bag of toiletries the girls write a personal note. Often times those precious words are the greatest gift of all.
“I get word all the time from the street about how thankful the people are just for the notes, because they have kids, they have grandkids and it kind of reminds them of their kids,” Dan Rosenhanst, Bridges Outreach said.
Arushi Vadlamani got very creative with her note, using the paper to make an origami pet.
“I wrote, even if you can’t have a pet, a paper one will do, and then on the back you unfold the ears, it’ll look just like a little cat or fox,” she explained, “If you’re a homeless person you can’t really afford a pet and people might want one, and if they can’t afford one they can just have a paper one to always carry around.”
That’s a gift from the heart.
If you’re looking for ways to teach your children about giving this holiday season, experts said start with charities in your community. Find out what they need and get the kids involved.