Skip to Content

Teaching children to be good neighbors #PayitForwardwithSS

Teaching children to be good neighbors #PayitForwardwithSS

One fall Saturday, our family drove home from somewhere, I forget where. As we drove down one street, we saw the town leaf pick-up trucks slowly vacuuming up the roads towards our house. The only leaf pick-up of the season. Eeek! We’d totally forgotten!

And hubby had an appointment to jet off to next. So he handed me our old leaf-blower, which I could barely pick up, and I was on my own. I gamely attempted to keep the heavy blower going but it kept dying out on me. I grabbed a rake, and scraped as much of the front yard towards the road as I could. Tried the blower again and it worked for awhile, but, truthfully, there’s a little technique to leaf blowing and I didn’t have it down!

Finally, after an hour of trying to outrace the trucks, my boys were hungry, and frankly I could not stomach breath of leaf-blower air, so I took everyone inside and resigned ourselves to multiple trips to the transfer station next week.

As I served lunch, a rising noise of leaf blowers floated into the house. Which I at first ignored, assuming the town truck had arrived on our street. Then I realized it came from the backyard. What!? I looked out, and there were two of our neighbors with their rakes and blowers, tornado-ing our leaves out of the backyard and up to the road (no small feat because our backyard is sunken!).

Teary-eyed, I looked at my boys, and said, “And that’s what being a good neighbor looks like!”

Pay it Forward snack bags

Of course, we walked over later that afternoon to say thank you. But the truth is, I can’t repay them in kind, not having the same leaf-blower skills (or really any lawn-care skills whatsoever!).

I think that’s why Jesus shares the story of the Good Samaritan with us. To remind us that everywhere you look are “neighbors” who could use a helping hand. People God puts in our path because we’re uniquely equipped to reach them in some way.

Teaching children to be good neighbors


A progressive goal for our family is to share with our children the concept of outreach. Teaching our children to look beyond themselves and think of others first. Showing them that they have to keep their eyes open for opportunities.One opportunity presented itself this month when Stop & Shop asked me to share their better neighbor efforts in New England, by giving me the opportunity to donate foodstuffs in my own community.

pay it forward snack bagspay it forward snack bags

The kids and I decided to support our local schoolchildren by providing take-home snack bags for children who may go home to very little food over a holiday weekend. Since many students in our town depend on free breakfast and lunch at school each day, there’s a real possibility they go home on the weekend or vacations to very little in the cupboards.

Our goal was to provide a few students one weekend of healthy snacks! We shopped our local Stop & Shop for an assortment of items like cereals, milk, granola bars, nuts, and fruit (applesauce). I wanted all the foods to be shelf-stable so they’d last the weekend, and easy for young children to open themselves. Pictured above is just a sampling of one snack bag worth of food, and then my son with two bag’s worth. We created eight bags total! Stop & Shop’s store brand products and great sales helped us purchase a good amount!

Pay it Forward snack bagsPay it Forward snack bags

The boys toted their gift bags of food into our local elementary school, where the guidance department was thrilled to accept the donation!

Creating snack bags for kids in need is just one way to give back in a community. Donating to a local food pantry or soup kitchen, bringing a meal to a new mom or sick family are other ways. And I’m sure you, my readers, have many more ideas as well!

Please share them with us!!

Pay it Forward snack bags


For over 100 years, Stop & Shop has been committed to being a better neighbor to New England. This year they will donate over 300,000 holiday meals and $12 million to families in need through their ongoing hunger relief programs such as Turkey Express, Food for Friends and Trimmings Boxes. With the holiday season right around the corner, they are encouraging customers to give back as well!

Stop & Shop’s goal is to bring communities together through leading by example – being a better neighbor will inspire others around you to do the same.

Give Back and WIN IT!

I’ll be picking 4 lucky readers to each win a $25 Gift Card to Stop & Shop! Enter in the form below! This giveaway is a little different because I really want us to focus on thinking of ways we can Pay it Forward this year, so that’s all I’m asking you to share! 🙂

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This post was sponsored by Stop & Shop and I was compensated for sharing this message. All opinions are my own.

Laurie Emerson

Monday 21st of December 2015

We pay it forward by helping all year long at our local soup kitchen. We have been through times when we needed help with having enough food and we want to pay it forward.

Miz Vickik

Monday 21st of December 2015

Anonymously putting little things in all of my coworkers' mailboxes to make their day a little better, like oranges or Chapsticks

Candie L

Monday 21st of December 2015

We give our extra items to those in need. Thank you

Karen Deva

Monday 21st of December 2015

Our newspaper features families in need during the holiday season and we try to donate items and money each year to help those who desperately need it.

Carolyn Daley

Sunday 20th of December 2015

We are donating a box of toys to Toys For Tots this year.