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The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Over the years, Hilltown Families has partnered with The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in several ways, offering families in the region opportunities to engage in service-based learning while volunteering together as a family in support of food security in our region. We’ve organized a field trip and a couple of virtual food drives and told you how you… Read More

Next week, the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 19th, 2015, presents families with a three-day weekend. Instead of spending your extra day off sleeping in and lazing around the house, highlight the historical significance of the holiday for your family and find a way to make it meaningful. Families can find special events and service opportunities taking place across western Massachusetts, each of which presents students with the chance to learn experientially about the history of oppression in our country, community activism, and the importance of kindness and a commitment to serve others. Here are six ways to celebrate with your community and family in meaning ways in western MA…

Teaching kindness can happen naturally, but it takes dedication to create a family culture of constant kindness. Drawing inspiration from Random Acts of Kindness Week, families can share their love and appreciation for the people around them during the holiday season by participating in random acts of kindness – acts of varying size and shape that show your community that you care. Parents can even use resources offered in lesson plans to work on creating a family culture of kindness!

– Support Hilltown Families with your tax deductible donation during Valley Gives on Wednesday, December 10th so we can generate 1,500 more hours of service & kindness to our community!Help us generate 1,500 more hours of community service!

This past Saturday, November 22nd, was the third Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event, a one of a kind event for families to volunteer together in a morning of community service! From teens to tots to grandparents, over 200 folks were able to generate 600 hours of community service at this intergenerational event for different non-profit and community organizations in our region that support education, children’s welfare, and human services.

As Thanksgiving approaches, families can integrate food-related community service into their schedules in order to honor the role that food plays in the holiday’s celebration. From community meals to food pantries to other food-related community resources, opportunities abound for families to engage in service or to participate in a community-building meal.

Engage in some furry family community service by becoming a foster family for a local animal shelter or humane society! Cats, dogs, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, and even birds await foster placements all over western Massachusetts, and providing a foster home to pets waiting adoption is a fantastic way to not only enjoy some animal companionship but to offer a much needed service to your community!

Hilltown Families will host our 3rd Family Community Service Event on Saturday, November 22nd from 10am-1pm at Leeds Elementary School in Northampton, MA, with five hands-on volunteer stations for ALL AGES that support education, children’s welfare, and human service. Event is free and open to all, but space is limited and participating families must preregister. Join us to volunteer with your family, helping to generate 600 hours of community service in a single morning!

Volunteer with your family to help local non-profits in a single free event on Saturday, November 22nd during the Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event in Northampton— a one of a kind event for families to volunteer together while educating children about important social issues and the value of community service! —

“Our goal is to give families service-based learning experiences by collaborating with local non-profits and community organizations in a single event,” says Sienna Wildfield, Executive Director of Hilltown Families. “Many families are interested in volunteering together but may find it difficult due to either a limit in time or to a lack of opportunities. Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event is an intergenerational & delightful way for families to volunteer together. It’s also an avenue for parents to discuss and educate their children on important community issues and the value of volunteering in our community.” —

Space is limited, so reserve a spot for your family today!

Lend a hand to show love for the Connecticut River! The Connecticut River Watershed Council’s annual Source to Sea Cleanup takes place on September 26th and 27th, mobilizing volunteers of all ages to help clean up the banks of the Connecticut River and the streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds that make up its watershed. Families can participate by joining in on a preexisting cleanup event, or by scouting locations in need of cleaning before the event takes place. Engaging in community service helps kids learn how to give back to their community and to their environment, and helping to preserve a natural resource will help them learn to appreciate their surroundings!

Food security is an important issue in Massachusetts with 1/5 kids classified as “food insecure.” It often happens when children are out of school that parents have financial difficulty making up the lost ground that was given by free school meals. Families can help in closing this summer meal gap by joining us at an intergenerational Family Volunteer event at The Food Bank of Massachusetts in Hatfield this summer.

Read on for more detailed information…

Engaging your family in community service teaches kids positive values while opening up channels of communication between parent and child, and can increase their participation as future volunteers. Join Hilltown Families for an evening of community service art-making on Friday, June 6th from 4-7pm at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls, MA, for “We (heart) the Deerfield River,” the final community-service through art event in a series of five free family community service nights!

Families can participate together in community service at one of the many spring clean ups happening in the region. Here are five featured community service opportunities happening this Saturday…

Global Youth Service Day, designed to promote community service and to draw in youth as volunteers to support a wide variety of causes, takes place this week: April 11-13. Families interested in participating in community service can use Global Youth Service Day as an opportunity to choose a cause and begin donating their time and efforts to it.

Community-service opportunities, like Land Monitors for the Hilltown Land Trust, are ways older students can participate in service-based learning while supporting natural resources they have grown to care about. On Saturday, March 15, the Hilltown Land Trust and the Kestrel Trust will hold a Volunteer Stewardship Training Workshop at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton…

The Children’s Garden Project started in 2013 with two college students, a hodgepodge collection of garden tools and a goal: to connect urban children with nature and basic agricultural concepts through a specially designed educational curriculum…

Make Your Own Handmade Valentines with Hilltown Families at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls during a free family workshop this Friday, February 7th, from 4-7pm. Handmade valentines are wonderful expressions of thoughtfulness that can be shared with neighbors and friends, or with people you might not know. Join us to make many! Think about making a valentine for your librarian, postal worker, or teacher. Make several and deliver them to a nearby homeless shelter, nursing home, or an elderly neighbor in your community. Send them in the mail to long lost friends or relatives you have never met! Sign up to join us at the free family workshop…

Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Night at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls, MA DIY Mittens & Scarves for Families in Transition Friday, January 17th, 2014 from 4-7pm What better gift to receive in the winter than a warm pair of handmade mittens or cozy handmade scarf; and what better gift to give to someone in your community than something you have lovingly made? On Friday, January 17th from 4-7pm, Hilltown Families… Read More

A three-day weekend in on its way, and next Monday, January 20th, is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Instead of spending your extra day off sleeping in and lazing around the house, highlight the historical significance of the holiday for your family and find a way to make it meaningful. Families can find special events and service opportunities taking place across western Massachusetts, each of which presents students with the chance to learn experientially about the history of oppression in our country, community activism, and the importance of kindness and a commitment to serve others…

Handmade valentines are wonderful expressions of thoughtfulness that can be shared with neighbors and friends, or with people you might not know. Join us to make many! Join Hilltown Families on Friday, Feb 7th from 4-7pm to MYO handmade valentines during a free intergenerational workshop at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls. Think about making a valentine for your librarian, postal worker, or teacher. Make several and deliver them to a nearby homeless shelter, nursing home, or an elderly neighbor in your community. Send them in the mail to long lost friends or relatives you have never met! Sign up to join us!

Volunteering together with your children teaches positive values, like kindness, empathy and tolerance, while opening up channels of communication. Thanks to Birthday Wishes, a nonprofit organization serving much of New England and New York, children living in homeless shelters are able to celebrate their birthdays with games, cake, and gifts – and there are lots of ways that families can help to support the organization’s efforts…

What better gift to receive in the winter than a warm pair of handmade mittens or cozy handmade scarf; and what better gift to give to someone in your community than something you have lovingly made? .. Join us for an evening of community service art-making on Friday, Jan. 17th from 4-7pm at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls, MA, for “DIY Mittens & Scarves for Families in Transition,” the second in a series of five free family community service nights…

Boxing Day – Drawing inspiration from the holiday’s roots, use the day after Christmas to show appreciation & gratitude to those in service positions who your family see regularly…

Have you heard of Spread the Bread? This global grassroots bread-giving initiative encourages families to bake bread and share with others. It was begun as a way to involve kids in charitable giving at an early age so that they would see it as a way of life… and a great way for families to participate in community service at home on a snow day!

Volunteering with The Food Bank is great way for kids to give a unique gift to families struggling with food security throughout the holiday season and winter months. During the school vacation week, the Food Bank will host a children’s volunteer morning in Hatfield…

Hands-on volunteering experiences can sometimes be hard to find for families with younger children. There are many terrific of organizations within our community that need volunteers to help with a variety of jobs, but often these jobs are skill-specific or take place in environments that may not be welcoming to young children. However, there are lots of community service projects that kids can do at home that make just as large an impact as in-person volunteering…

This coming Friday evening… Hilltown Families and The Art Garden will be collaborating again this year in a series of Free Family Community Service Nights! The first in the series will be on Friday, December 13th from 4-7pm: “A Serving of Art.” Join us in Shelburne Falls for an evening of art and community service, making reusable handmade canvas placemats and collecting nonperishable foods to donate to Stone Soup Cafe in Greenfield, MA. Families will also be invited to make a special canvas placemat to take and give to an elder in their life or a home-bound senior in their community…

Spread the spirit of giving and build community this holiday season by organizing a collection drive to support Socks for Seniors! The organization has been collecting socks all over the country for more than ten years! The socks collected in each drive are then given to elderly community members in order to keep their toes nice and warm throughout the winter and share some of the holiday spirit that inspired the project in the first place…

Hilltown Families and The Art Garden will be collaborating again this year in a series of Free Family Community Service Nights! The first in the series will be on Friday, December 13th from 4-7pm: “A Serving of Art.” Join us in Shelburne Falls for an evening of art and community service, making reusable handmade canvas placemats and collecting nonperishable foods to donate to Stone Soup Cafe in Greenfield, MA. Families will also be invited to make a special canvas placemat to take and give to an elder in their life or a home-bound senior in their community…

This holiday season, Hilltown Families is hosting a Virtual Holiday Food Drive in support of food security in our region! Every $1 donated through the Hilltown Families Virtual Holiday Food Drive equals $13 worth of food distributed to families in need (the equivalent of nearly 10 meals!). Please take a moment to participate in the Hilltown Families Virtual Holiday Food Drive, and consider organizing a food drive in your community too…

The Stone Soup Cafe in Greenfield brings together community, serving fresh, homemade food to neighbors of all ages and backgrounds. Volunteer opportunities ranging from cooking, serving, performing and cleaning are available — or just bring your family and enjoy a community meal that is inclusive and diverse…

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