Skip to main content

Mendo Lake Family Life

Warm-Weather Ways to Show You Care

By Christina Katz

Giving is always in season. Even though the media tends to emphasize generosity during winter’s holiday celebrations, summer is the perfect opportunity to model neighborliness, community service, and donating to worthwhile causes, especially as we collectively endure the COVID-19 pandemic. While sheltering-in-place limits the ways families can make in-person contributions to the community, there are still many ways to foster a giving spirit.

1. Capture gratitude. Create colorful postcards to mail to teachers, coaches, and instructors who have helped kids blossom in the past year. Keep the message short and sweet, and infuse the card with creativity.

2. Encourage bookishness. Sign up for a summer reading program; while physical libraries are closed, local libraries’ digital and audio collections are available. You can also buy books online. Go through your shelves and remove books you don’t want. When sheltering-in-place orders are lifted, donate them to a library.

3. Clean-out cabinets. Search your kitchen for food items that have not expired, and add a few extra nonperishable items to your grocery cart. With so many people out of work, food banks are in dire need of donations of all kinds.

4. Plant ahead. If you’re a gardener, plant an extra row or two of vegetables for the local food bank. Look online to check their policies before you plant.

5. Delight someone. Painting rocks is a fun summer activity that can be done indoors or out. Taking your painted stones on neighborhood walks and hiding them for unsuspecting new friends to find turns this craft activity into an adventure. For inspiration, check out

6. Banish bedroom clutter. Ask your kids to touch and sort every item in their rooms. Consider the best ways to donate or store little-used items. Create a memory bin where each child can stash prized possessions, but don’t go beyond one bin per child.

7. Create blessings. Create blessing bags for people experiencing homelessness. Fill them with things such as: bottled water, glasses wipes, hand sanitizer, lip balm, sunscreen, a sturdy comb, toothpaste, travel-size shampoo and conditioner, Band-Aids, and large Ziploc bags. Some sturdy foods that won’t melt in summer’s heat are: granola bars, meats in a pop-top can, foods in pouches, applesauce cups, nuts, dried fruit, beef jerky, mints, hard candies, and gum. Don’t forget plastic silverware and napkins. Call the Mendocino Food and Nutrition Program to find out when they are accepting donations: 964-9404. Also call the Lake County Hunger Task Force at 277-9227 to find out how you can help.