How to Make a Difference in Kansas City (Ideas for Families)

We all understand the importance of giving back to others & making a difference in our community…

But determining how to make a difference can be hard. 

So, here’s 6 ideas for how to make a difference in Kansas City (big & small)

How to Make a Difference in Kansas City

How to Make a Difference in Kansas City

We are always running an errand, taking the kids to activities, family functions, and/or worrying about our ever-growing to-do list.

But take the time this season to make a difference in someone else’s life. You’d be surprised how much a small gesture or a couple hours of your time can mean. 

Get in the habit of actively seeking to brighten someone’s day, while teaching your children to make a difference. 

Also explore the 26 Best Places to Volunteer with Kids around town…you can find some great inspiration & ideas!


#1 Ask for Donations Instead of Gifts

As parents with young children, there always seems to be an occasion where we’re either giving or receiving gifts. Ask your friends and family to donate or give items in your honor at your next event. Here are a few ideas:

  • Birthday parties are a great time to collect new toys, books, and games for organizations that impact kids in need. Children’s Mercy Hospital accepts brand new items year round for patients staying at the hospital and your family will have the opportunity to help support an incredible cause you can feel good about.
  • Baby showers are another great opportunity to help give back to the community. Ask guests to bring an extra package of diapers, wipes or other baby items to donate to a local shelter that will help support local women and children here in Kansas City. Or, donate them to Happy Bottoms!
  • Holiday Meals provide the ideal time to ask friends and family to bring non-perishable pantry items to donate to a local organization or shelter. During the holiday season & colder months, food pantries can have trouble staying stocked with food. These items will make a difference & directly impact the community.  Larger organizations have boxes and barrels you can pick up, fill and bring back making the process very easy.


#2 Help International Military Families

The International Military Sponsorship Program is designed to give foreign officers some companions to make their year at Fort Leavenworth a little bit easier. Each officer involved in the program is provided with a Kansas City Area Sponsor, a Leavenworth Area Sponsor and a Fort Leavenworth Sponsor.

How Do You Make a Difference?

As a sponsor, you help them get acquainted with your sponsor area, socialize with them and assist them with important services and needs if they have not set it up already. They may need assistance setting up a bank account, obtaining a cell phone, obtaining furniture for housing, getting a car, choosing a school for their child and so on.

Other services you can provide to them can include introducing them to area events, fun activities, joining them at military social engagements, sharing holidays and traditions and helping them to make new contacts.

The sponsorship web page states that “Sponsorship” does not involve financial support, but does include the commitment to develop and nurture a personal relationship with officers and their families. Simply put, sponsorship is spending time with officers as their time allows and extending hospitality to their families.

I encourage you to help sponsor this coming Spring or Summer. Be sure to get your application in early if you have a preference for a particular country. Applications and requests are first come, first serve.

How can you get involved?

Go online to learn more information on becoming an International Sponsor.

Becoming a member of the Greater Kansas City People to People Program is free and only takes a bit of your time to get started. Once you’re a sponsor and assigned to an officer, you will have an orientation meeting to discuss your responsibilities & make plans!


#3 Donate Your Things to Make a Difference

Make a big difference by decluttering your home or finding unused things! You can donate gently-used items, clothing, small appliances and electronics to organizations that own and operate local thrift shops in Kansas City.

Not only does this benefit those in our community who can’t afford new items, it also helps us keep the clutter at bay.

If you’ve got the extra time to spare and are feeling up to the task, you can host a garage sale! The extra income gives you the opportunity to make a difference right here at home.

By donating some or all of the garage sale money to local organizations, you can directly impact children here in KC.


#4 Volunteer Your Time 

There are no shortages of opportunities to volunteer in Kansas City. There are many metro area organizations you can give back to that will directly impact your neighbors.

Here are three places you can make a difference in Kansas City: (find 26 more in our KC volunteering guide)

  • Hospitals – There are many ways high school and college students as well as adults here in the metro area can volunteer time at Children’s Mercy, but one of my personal favorites is the opportunity to host a Wednesday Night Live, where you and eight or nine of your friends can get together and provide entertainment for CMH patients.
  • Diaper Bank – Diapering children is expensive and it’s a need that isn’t covered by social programs. Check out Happy Bottoms, a diaper bank in Kansas City!
  • Food Bank – There are several opportunities for volunteering in the warehouse of our local food bank that collects non-perishable items to distribute to families in need. You can spend time organizing, sorting, and packaging items that will go out into the community.


#5 Your Date Night Can Make a Difference

Date nights are such an important part of maintaining a healthy marriage when you’re parenting…

Attending special events and fundraisers not only provides you with a fun evening out with your significant other but also makes a difference in our local KC community.

So, be giving of your night out by attending special fundraising activities around the metro & supporting incredible organizations around town. There are great fundraising events, like the Bubble Ball for Make a Wish, that support a fantastic cause!


#6 Make Dinner for Another Family

If you know of any local families who are going through a hard time, cook a meal for them. 

This small gesture can go a long way in making a difference for their family. You can also volunteer at places like NourishKC, a restaurant serving the less fortunate. 

make a difference

#7 Make a Difference with Kindness: 60 Acts of Kindness

Take a few minutes and remind your children of the importance of compassion & connection. We are our children’s greatest teachers.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Offer to rake or mow or rake a neighbor’s lawn
  2. Give your waiter or waitress a generous tip
  3. Let a manager know when you receive good customer service
  4. Write your child’s teacher a thank you note
  5. Have your child write their teacher a thank you note
  6. Encourage your child compliment the cafeteria staff at school or have them draw them a picture
  7. Deliver flowers to one of your best friends
  8. Mail your parents a hand written thank you card
  9. Write your partner a love letter
  10. Write sweet compliments your children on your bathroom mirror (dry erase markers work great!)
  11. Bake your neighbors some cookies or a cake
  12. Leave a bottle water and an encouraging note in your mailbox to your mail carrier
  13. Send your pastor an email and let them know how much you appreciate them
  14. Bring your child’s daycare teachers doughnuts
  15. Send your children’s grandparents your kids artwork in the mail
  16. Mail your family members printed pictures of you and your kids
  17. Offer to walk your neighbor’s dog
  18. Offer to babysit so a friend or family member can have a night off
  19. Let someone go in front of you in line at the store
  20. Donate a new or gently used coat for kids (and adults) in need
  21. Leave a happy note in a library book for someone to find later
  22. Write and send a letter to someone in the military thanking them for their service
  23. Write notes of encouragement and leave them on a car window shield in a parking lot
  24. Create encouraging notes in side walk chalk on local side walks
  25. Invite some friends over to dinner
  26. Tell your kid(s) 15 things you love about them
  27. Call your grandparents
  28. Go on Facebook and leave a positive comment on 20 photos
  29. Give your partner a massage
  30. Sign up to ring the bell for the Salvation
  31. Find opportunities to give compliments. It costs nothing, takes no time, and could make someone’s entire day.
  32. On any holiday, remember any friends who have lost a parent the previous year and check in with them. Those will be tough days for them
  33. Put a surprise note or sketch in with your spouse’s or kid’s lunch
  34. Take an hour to write the amazing people in your life a letter telling them why they’re awesome. Some people still love getting letters!
  35. Adopt a family for Christmas
  36. Get the whole family involved in a community service or volunteer project.
  37. Find creative ways to support our troops and Vets
  38. ALWAYS say “Thank you” when you see someone in a uniform
  39. Bring dinner to your local police station or fire station
  40. Buy an extra cup of coffee in the morning and give to a co-worker
  41. Plan a scavenger hunt for your kids
  42. Donate your blood at a blood drive
  43. Tell someone you’ve fought with that you’re sorry and that you forgive them
  44. Leave extra time in a parking meter
  45. Encourage someone who is working hard at the gym
  46. Cook a meal for your partner
  47. Attend recitals and games for the kids of your friend(s)
  48. Offer to pick up your friend’s children after school
  49. Shower the pediatric wing of a hospital with coloring supplies
  50. Give a loved one your undivided attention
  51. Attend an event without your phone
  52. Give your child a big hug
  53. Write yourself an “I am proud of you” letter
  54. Buy yourself a journal and use it every day
  55. Call your best friend
  56. Plan a family vacation
  57. Go visit an out of town relative
  58. Make a funny family video
  59. Support a friends’ business and buy something from them
  60. Give back by shopping locally


How do you show kindness around the holidays and throughout the year? We’d love to hear your simple acts – share your kindness with us!

Give us your kindness & volunteer ideas in the comments:

From our family to yours, iFamilyKC. 

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