Our family food and toy drive required much more planning than normal this year! Because of the pandemic and partial lockdown right now, we couldn’t do our usual food and toy drive. So we adapted to an online and curbside event for our 6th annual family food and toy drive. As usual, though, we were joined by the Kindness Elves, Pete the Cat, and the families of both my now-adult kids.
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The Kindness Elves and Pete the Cat Are a Fun Way to Encourage Participation in a Food and Toy Drive
We started participating in food and toy drives with Zoey when she was 2 years old. The Kindness Elves met Pete the Cat and had a note that said “Let’s go to the food and toy drive with Pete the Cat and give it our all!”
“Give it our all” refers to a special message from Pete the Cat Saves Christmas. I love the message and song that runs through the book. While the book isn’t that understandable for babies and young toddlers, the song from it is still perfect (and toddlers do love the book):
“Give it your all, give it your all.
At Christmas we give,
so give it your all.”
You can listen to and learn the tune for the song at Harper Collins sing-along version of the book.
We continued to use Kindness Elves and Pete the Cat in our food and toy drive in 2016.
Our Pete the Cat Saves Christmas Doll joined us again in 2017 with the Kindness Elves (now a family with a baby). In addition to focusing on Pete the Cat Saves Christmas, we read books about hunger and poverty to give Zoey a deeper understanding about why we do the food and toy drive each year. (Update: The Pete the Cat Saves Christmas Doll is no longer available, but you could probably use a Pete the Cat plush doll with a cat or dog Santa hat if you want a Christmas version of Pete the Cat.)
In 2018, we were joined by a new baby and toddler in our family!
In 2019, we were joined by the Kindness Elves, Pete the Cat, and the entire families of both my now-adult kids for our 5th annual food and toy drive.
Our 6th Annual Family Food and Toy Drive in 2020 Became an Online and Curbside Event
In addition to the Kindness Elves and Pete the Cat, our family food drives include my two adult children’s families: my son, Will, my daughter-in-law, Chea, Zoey (7 years old), Sophia (3 years old), my daughter, Chrissy, my son-in-law, Tom, and Caleb (2½ years old) along with the main organization by me.
Chea helped with a lot of the planning.
The Kindness Elves and Pete the Cat invited everyone to join in a food and toy drive with their message: “Let’s do a family food and toy drive.” Pete the Cat encouraged us to give it our all with the Harper Collins sing-along version of the book.
Zoey and Sophia each picked out a toy online at a local store to give to a girl. A book was also selected for each girl. Zoey had even saved some of her money for the toy drive this year!
Tom and Chrissy were scheduled to pick up and distribute the toys and books.
Caleb is obsessed with building with LEGO bricks, so a LEGO set was his gift to a child. A book was selected to go with the LEGO set. With toddlers and young preschoolers, I typically like to take the major role in choosing the toy. I focus on a toy the child loves but already has at home. That way, the giving experience is a joyful one. Otherwise, toddlers will generally want the donated toy themselves and might be sad about the experience.
Again, Tom and Chrissy were scheduled to pick up and distribute the toy and book.
Other than donating some items from our home pantries, I placed an order with our local grocery store through Instacart. I’m a real fan of home delivery for groceries in general … especially during the pandemic!
After the groceries were delivered to my home and all toys picked up, I placed the unopened toys and books in gift bags.
Tom, Chrissy, and Caleb took the toys for curbside delivery at a local donation center.
In the photo (taken by Tom), you’ll see Caleb and Chrissy with the book and toy bags ready for delivery. (Note: Even though Caleb has his mask on, he wasn’t anywhere near the person picking up the toys at the drop off. Chrissy took the bags out of their vehicle to the curbside drop-off area.)
Even though this wasn’t our usual family food and toy drive, it was still special. And next year will be extra special if we’re again able to go shopping together for the food and toys and deliver the gifts as a group.
The Ultimate Guide to Kindness Elves
I’ve collected Kindness Elf activities and ideas since they first came out in 2013. You can find all of my Kindness Elf posts in my Ultimate Guide to Kindness Elves.
I hope you’re able to find ways to make this holiday special for your family and for others. Wishing you and your family a safe, healthy, and blessed holiday season.
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