What charity will receive the money participants collect?
The money collected can be donated to any charity you choose. It is usually a homeless shelter, food bank or other housing-related charity.
Where do I buy the boxes?
The inexpensive undecorated cardboard house-shaped boxes are sold at the online store in two quantities: 25 boxes and 100 boxes. This is the only expense you incur to organize the project.
How far in advance should I order my boxes?
Boxes are shipped Fedex Ground from Maine. Allow at least five working days for delivery.
Where can I learn more?
Visit the Houses for Change home page and the Getting Started page where there is a detailed description of the boxes, age-appropriate teaching materials, a sample letter to email to parents and a sample press release for the media.
Go to the Houses for Change Facebook page to see examples of innovative ways to organize this project. Please “Like” the page and post about your project.
When is a good time to do Houses for Change?
There are opportunities throughout the year to organize a Houses for Change project.
- In a secular setting, this project can be one of the activities for community service or service learning days, an end-of-year school project, Thanksgiving, or other appropriate holidays. For families, Houses for Change can be a fun activity at a birthday party or a family celebration.
- In a Christian setting, the project can be used as Advent and Lenten collection boxes and included in Vacation Bible School programming. At Easter, families can make Houses for Change boxes as part of their holiday activities.
- In a Jewish setting, a Houses for Change tzedakah box project can be a B’nai Mitzvah project, included in Mitzvah Day, Sukkot, Chanukah, Passover and at Purim used as misloach manot baskets with instructions for recipients to reuse the box as a tzedakah box.
- In a Muslim setting, Houses for Change can be used to participate in the tradition of giving Sadaqah and Zakat anytime during the year, preferably during the holy month of Ramadan, the days of Eid Al Fitr (the Festival of Feast) and Eid Al Adha (the Festival of Sacrifice).
- In an interfaith setting, Houses for Change can organized for national and community days of service, Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend of Service, Thanksgiving and end-of-year holidays.
How can I organize a Houses for Change Project?
There are two ways to organize a Houses for Change collection box project.
- Have children make their own boxes and take them home to fill with money.
- Have children make boxes that are placed at local businesses to have customers and employees fill with money.
What are some tips for a successful Houses for Change project?
The key to a successful project is to communicate effectively to everyone involved.
- If children are to take their boxes home, make sure participants and parents understand the purpose of the decorated boxes, the specific charity that will benefit from the money saved, and the date the money will be collected. If appropriate, have a speaker from the charity talk to participants about how the money they collect will make a difference in the lives of those assisted by the charity. Edit and email the draft sample letter to parents explaining the project so their children will make it a habit to fill their boxes.
- If the boxes are to be placed at local businesses, prepare a press release, poster and email to inform the community, customers and employees about the purpose of the decorated boxes on display at participating businesses. For an example of successful community communication that you can use as a model for your project, see this United Way of York County, Maine press release and poster.
How can we use Houses for Change as a teachable moment?
Houses for Change provides an opportunity to educate participants about homelessness and to foster the values of compassion and charity. On the Getting Started page, there are a Homelessness Fact Sheet and age-appropriate Teaching Guides for a Houses for Change project.
How can we promote our Houses for Change project?
Edit and distribute to the media the sample press release. Kids with homes helping kids without is the kind of heartwarming story that media likes to cover.
See the “In the Media” news stories on the home page for examples of the media coverage you might obtain.
For other questions, please contact us.