Kids Service Project: Caring Hearts Drive for SafePlace

Caring Kids families opened their hearts & donated items from the SafePlace Olympia wish list to help families of domestic abuse build a new life. Kids also decorated the bags and wrote inspiring messages to the families at the shelter. At the end of the event, 18 bags of clothing, school supplies, and toiletries were donated! Thank you to the many, many families who donated, Safeway and for donating snacks to the Caring Kids participants, and also Thurston Community Media for filming the volunteer experience!

Each month, Caring Kids partners with a different community organization in Thurston County to create a volunteer experience specifically tailored to our younger volunteers, ages 2-5 years old (younger and older children are welcome!). Each project includes an early learning component and also has book recommendations to help you guide your child in the experience. If you would like to learn more about Caring Kids Family Volunteer projects, please visit

Pictured to the left: Colorful bags decorated by Caring Kids filled with donated items to SafePlace. If you missed the drive and would like to donate to Safe Place emergency shelter, please go to their website:

The event overview:
We met at the Child Care Action Council office to assemble the bags of donated items for SafePlace. The event kicked off with reading the book “Boxes for Katje” that talks about giving in times of crisis. The kids then dove into decorating bags with sponges and paint (this is great for development of fine motor skills; something that will help younger kids get ready to hold pencils). We provided smocks and all the craft items. Parents worked alongside their kids to write notes of encouragement to the survivors at the emergency shelter. 

Talk to your kids about the project:
To introduce the act of giving, reading “Boxes for Katje” by Candace Fleming is a great way to show your child that they can make a difference through kindness and giving. At this age, donating items to give to the domestic abuse shelter may make more of an impact than donating money, which may be too abstract for some young children. Work together with them and go through some of the clothes (pajamas, sweatshirts, sweatpants are needed) that they have grown out of and no longer need. Tell them we are able to provide our family with everything we need and now we can share with others who need clothing.

Answering questions on abuse & safety:
Young children will give you clues as to how much detail they might want to know about helping women in a shelter or families that are homeless. They will ask questions and then stop when they know enough. However when speaking on this topic reassure your children that they will be protected and that they are safe. If their situation is less than safe, they need to know the adults in their life will take care of things and that the child can ask the adults questions or tell them anything.

All families should have a safety plan for what to do at home or school if there is a disaster. Many children will think of when and why they feel unsafe when talking about other people’s fears. They might also need to discuss their fear of losing a special toy, their home, or a pet. Some of your children might bring up things that make them nervous or scared. Do your best to talk about their concerns and ensure them that you are there to keep them safe.

Want to see pictures of the service project? Check out our Facebook group page!