“Kids these days…”, a derogatory phrase used by older folks who believe that the generations beneath them have misguided values and beliefs. It’s every parent’s goal to make sure that their child doesn’t fall into this category of “kids”, but it’s at times difficult to achieve when juggling all of the other obligations required of being a legal guardian. One question that crosses every new parent’s mind is, “How do I raise a child that genuinely cares about others?” If this sounds like you, you’re in luck, because our friends at Heifer International are here to share a creative solution with you.

What if we were to tell you that Heifer has turned schoolwork into a way for kids to give back to those in need? Well… it’s not! Heifer’s Read to Feed program is an initiative that utilizes reading as a tool to teach students in grades 1-6 (and up) about charitable giving.

courtesy of Heifer International
courtesy of Heifer International

How It Works: For each book, chapter, or page read, students get sponsors to contribute money to their individual or classroom pool. At the end of the program, the student or class donates their earned dollars to Heifer International to help families around the world who are suffering from hunger and poverty.

Read to Feed is an excellent way to encourage kids to read and help them put into perspective situations that others outside their immediate community are faced with day to day. In addition, it empowers children to contribute to the global community while developing their reading skills. Luke Wood of Ms. Dolan’s second grade class said, “My favorite book is Abe Lincoln at Last by Mary Pope. I liked that they go back in time to meet Abe Lincoln and he jokes them into thinking he’s a kid. I think I read about three hours; I raised $100. My favorite part is that we raised money for other kids to get the things they need.” Ms Dolan’s class generated $10,205 in 30 days for Read to Feed. That’s pretty amazing if you ask us!

courtesy of Heifer International

Teachers who have implemented Read to Feed campaigns in their own classrooms have nothing but good things to say about the program. Teacher Susan Sundberg said, “Youngsters are free to read what is important to them and what they care about. Reading then becomes a tool helping them connect, learn and do things that are vital and significant to each of them personally. They are in charge, and along the way are becoming the lifelong readers and learners that is our vision as teachers for them. Tracking progress towards the goal set is rewarding and reinvigorating to students. Read To Feed works for us as teachers because we can so readily modify to meet our own students’ needs.”

For teachers and parents wanting to learn more, Heifer International provides free downloadable lesson plans, discussions, and more. These materials are available for everyone’s use and can be found here.

Learn more about this amazing organization, and see a portion of whatever you spend online donated to Heifer International by shopping at any of our almost 3,000 online merchants here.