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Posts Tagged ‘Volunteer’

Volunteering with Baby Goats at Whispering Pines Farm in Seneca, SC

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Just an hour from Greenville, SC lies Whispering Pine Farm, a Grade A goat and sheep dairy and cheese-making farm. And, they train volunteers to help with their busy kidding season, which means learning how to care for and birth baby goats and lambs. Our resident goat-lover, Kristina, of course, had to do this. 

Our readers at Kidding Around know how much we (ok, I) love baby goats and that we’ll pretty much do anything to hang out with them and learn about them and cuddle with them and give them all our love. Well, we visited Whispering Pines Farm in Seneca to do all of that and learn from Debbie Webster, the farm owner who has years and years of experience. 

baby goats at whispering pines farm
Newborn baby goat

Intro to Birthing Goats

“Precious is definitely having babies today,” Debbie said to our group of homeschoolers as we all gathered in the warm shop during introductions. 

Precious is one of the many mama goats at Whispering Pines and she was due to have her kids when we were there, as were several other goat mamas. 

I was thrilled. My kids seemed excited from their facial expressions. It could have also meant a little fear as to what we’d be seeing but I think it was excitement so that’s what I’m going with. 

Debbie gave us a rundown of what we’d be learning: how to walk the pasture and look for signs of a labor in the goats and sheep, what to do if one does go into labor and starts pushing out a bundle of cuteness, how to make sure the babies are warm, how to feed them, and how to make sure the older babies get some exercise. 

Not one minute after we walked out of the barn shop did Debbie say Precious had already given birth to one baby and another was on the way. It took us another minute to get to the pasture just in time to watch baby goat number two be born. All of us got an up-close view of the amniotic fluid coming out of the mama and the little baby coming out right after. 

Then we all learned what afterbirth was. It’s a farm and we knew what we were getting into – and it was awesome. 

Learning about Mama Goats

Right after Precious gave birth, another goat, Daphne, went into labor in the same pasture. How lucky were we?! 

Debbie was careful to instruct us to give Daphne her space and not get up close to her. The kids in the group were really respectful and listened to Debbie and gave the mama goat a wide berth to go where she pleased. It’s important, we learned, to not look like any kind of predator or get too close as to stress out the mom. 

goat giving birth at a farm
Mama goat giving birth

While the smaller kids were pretty good in the field and with the baby goats, these volunteer opportunities are better for older kids who can hold their own and not be managed as much. 

All during this time, we were free to ask Debbie about what happens when a mama goat or sheep goes into labor, how they prefer to give birth, what needs to happen right after the baby is born, and how best to help the farm staff to handle all the births. 

One of the biggest things we learned was just how carefully these mama goats and sheep need to be watched, especially in colder weather. The farm staff is so attentive to them, watching for the telltale signs of labor like pawing at the ground and circling around one space, and are ready at the drop of a hat (or baby goat?) to jump in and help the mama. 

We saw Daphne give birth to one small baby goat and headed out of the pasture to go check out the older babies and let them out for recess. 

More Baby Goats

The farm has pastures set up for sheep and goats and babies. The babies need to be kept warm and fed so they are in a separate area. These babies were just days old and oh-so-cute. 

They were all huddled under a heat lamp but needed to practice running and jumping a bit. Our group helped the baby goats out into the sun and they got to play around for a bit. 

In the meantime, the twins who were born to Precious were with us and needed to eat their first meal of nutritious colostrum. I was holding one of them and was in complete heaven but he needed to eat so off to the baby eating area we went. Like a human baby, a baby goat or lamb also gets colostrum, a nutrient-dense milk to help them get a good start in life. Baby goats and lambs get a few helpings of colostrum before they move onto regular goat’s milk. 

feeding baby goats
Baby goat’s first feeding

After the twins were fed, four more baby goats came in. Remember Daphne the mama goat giving birth in the pasture? She ended up having quads. Four tiny baby goats – three girls and one boy – were now with us and they were so, so cute and adorable. 

Since Whispering Pines is a dairy farm, the babies are separated from their mothers at birth. This is usually a tough thing for us non-farmers to process, especially us mothers, but it’s a very common practice and all the animals on the farm are happy and healthy. 

Volunteering During Kidding Season 

Whispering Pines Farm is a family-run farm and they really need volunteers. This particular volunteer orientation was fantastic as it was geared towards homeschoolers but they also have other opportunities during non-school times to volunteer and learn how to birth and care for baby goats and lambs. 

You don’t need to have kids or be a kid or come as a family. You can come and volunteer in whatever state of life you’re in and you’ll probably leave happier than when you came. This kind of volunteer experience is best suited for kids ages 9+ just because the babies are fragile and need special care and attention. If parents bring their human kids, they need to watch them closely.

The best thing to do is stay tuned to the Whispering Pines Facebook page for events or just text or call Debbie herself (864.360.3222). She’s an open book and will tell you exactly what you can do and what she needs. 

Speaking of needs, Whispering Pines really needs towels. With all the kids they are having on the farm, the need for towels is great. Every time a baby is born, they need a clean towel. If you can drop them off at the farm, that’d be fantastic. Or call Debbie and she can help you figure out how to get them there. 

If you choose to volunteer, wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and dress warmly with hats, gloves, and layers. It’s a farm and you’ll be getting dirty. 

About Whispering Pines Farm 

Whispering Pines is a family-owned and operated dairy farm. They have horses, cows, goats, and sheep and are a “licensed Grade A Raw Goat and Sheep and Cow milk dairy and cheese making facility.”

The farm is set on 180 acres in Seneca, SC, about an hour outside of Greenville. The farm used to be in Mauldin, which is where I first visited years and years ago. I always loved learning about the sheep and goats and of course, cuddling any baby goat or lamb I could. 

baby goats
Look at all those baby goats

Debbie Webster is a longtime farmer and horsewoman who has used all those acres and animals to help others in so many ways. Her farm has hosted 4 H clubs, homeschoolers, and kids and families with special needs. She used to put on an elaborate live nativity at the farm in Mauldin where they had a large indoor arena. She’s changed her farm in many ways since moving to Seneca yet everything at the farm has a purpose and Debbie’s heart always shines through to every visitor. 

Besides volunteer classes during kidding season, Debbie also hosts cheese-making classes at the farm, which I find completely fascinating and would love to do someday. Her products are available on-site at the farm as well as at some local retailers like the Swamp Rabbit Cafe. 

Lastly, Whispering Pines offers starter flocks and sheep/goat milking classes.

Whispering Pines Farm 
681 Old Campbell Bridge Road, Seneca
860.360.3222

Baby Animals at petting zoos and farms in Greenville, SC

Want more baby animals?
We have a whole list for that.

Where to See Baby Animals near Greenville, SC

How Can You Help the Ronald McDonald House in Greenville, SC?

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Are you interested in volunteering at the Ronald McDonald? Greenville, SC is home to the Ronald McDonald House of the Carolinas, and they are always looking for wonderful volunteers! Learn what types of volunteer opportunities are available to help support this important organization which helps families with children receiving care at local hospitals.

greenville ronald mcdonald house feature

There are many ways that you can help support the Ronald McDonald House through acts of kindness and volunteering.  If you’re looking for a place your whole family can volunteer, consider helping out at our local Ronald McDonald House. RMHC has several opportunities for volunteers of any age!

What is Ronald McDonald House Charities?

RMHC provides a low-cost place for families to stay who have a critically ill or injured child in a nearby hospital. The houses offer private bedrooms, playrooms and home-cooked meals–all of which allow families to stay close to their hospitalized loved ones. There are over 350 Ronald McDonald Houses, in 63 countries and they serve more than 12,000 families each night.

Locally, Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas is across the street from Greenville Memorial Hospital on Grove Road. It features 12 private rooms, laundry services, a double kitchen, a playroom and an outdoor playground.

Volunteer Opportunities at the Ronald McDonald House: Greenville, SC

Volunteers are vital to the Ronald McDonald House in Greenville. Volunteers can help with simple chores, baking cookies, cooking meals, helping clean, and spending time with the families and siblings of children who are ill. These children are often saddled with an unbearable amount of stress. Spending time in a colorful playroom away from the hospital is the perfect place for them to set aside their grief and act their age.

RMHCC is always looking for volunteers, and there are several volunteer programs families can do together. There are lots of simple ways you and your children can become a small part of this amazing organization.

Volunteer by Baking Cookies

One of the most popular volunteering programs at RMHCC is Cookies from the Heart. This program bakes fresh cookies for the families in residence. Fresh-baked cookies help make staying at RMHCC feel more like home. Plus, it’s a fast treat they can grab on their way to the hospital.

Groups of up to 6 people can sign up for weekday morning hours to volunteer cooking and baking. You must bring all ingredients, while RMHCC will provide cookie sheets, bowls, spatulas, cooling racks, and individual baggies for packaging up the cookies. They have three ovens available for use. You can make any type of cookies, brownies, or blondies. They only ask that no nuts be used.

Children 8 and older can participate, and the rule is 2 children to one parent. 

The Guest Chef Program at the Ronald McDonald House

RMHCC provides the families staying there with home-cooked meals every evening through the Guest Chef Program. Volunteers for this program are asked to make enough food for at least 20 people.

Food can be catered or prepared onsite using the kitchens and equipment at the House, which includes a gas grill, three ovens, and two stoves. Time slots for this program are every day from 4 to 6 p.m., with the mealtime around 6 p.m. Groups of 6 or less can help prepare the meals onsite.

Prepare Meals in the Weekend Meal Prep Program

Similar to the Guest Chef Program, families who’d like to help out on the weekends can sign up to make prepared meals for residents of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas.

Volunteers can prepare casseroles, soups, pasta bakes, and other meals that hold up well for the residents to cook and eat later in the week.

Families can volunteer from 11 am to 12:30 pm, both Saturday and Sunday. Meals should be cooked at RMHCC or be catered. Children 10 and older can help their parents during meal prep.

Help Keep the Ronald McDonald House Clean as a House Monitor

House Monitor volunteers can help out both during the week and on weekends to maintain the home and keep the Ronald McDonald House clean. Volunteers help families with laundry, removing trash and recycling from the home, sanitizing the common areas, and more.

They can also help with office tasks, yard work, housekeeping, and various household tasks. Volunteers must be 16 or older to participate as a House Monitor. Shifts are 2 hours long and are available from 9 am to 8 pm Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday volunteer hours are from 10 am to 8 pm.

Other Ways Families Can Help

  • The Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas wish list is an excellent way to help when you cannot be there in person to volunteer. The list includes cleaning supplies, paper goods, coffee cups, sugar packets, canned soups, and protein bars. They’d also love holiday toys for children and pre-teens.
  • Make decorations or write Christmas cards for the families in residence.
  • Collect pop tabs from cans to donate to the RMHCC. The center can then turn in the aluminum for money at a recycling center to fund the program.
  • RMHC donation boxes are located at McDonald’s restaurants and Walgreens. A donation box full of spare change can pay for a family to stay at the House for one night.
  • RMHCC also has additional volunteer opportunities for adults, individuals, and groups. For more information, questions, or to sign up for one of these volunteer opportunities, please visit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas website. 

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas
706 Grove Road, Greenville, SC
864.235.0506

Would volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House be the perfect way to give back for your family?

Families Volunteer Together: Food rescue run with Loaves & Fishes in Greenville, SC!

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Volunteering as a Food Rescuer at Loaves & Fishes in Greenville, SC is the perfect avenue for the whole family to give of their time to help those with food insecurity in our community. 

One of the most oft-repeated questions we get here at Kidding Around is “Where can I volunteer with kids?”. Many places need kids to be around middle school age to volunteer but there are several opportunities to help others with younger kids in tow. One of those is to volunteer with Loaves & Fishes. We did it and will tell you all about how to get involved with this organization. 

About Loaves & Fishes 

The mission of Loaves & Fishes is “[t]o eliminate food insecurity in Greenville County by ensuring no good food goes to waste.” This is done by partnering with grocery stores and restaurants to rescue their leftover food and deliver it to community centers, schools, shelters, low-income housing, food pantries, and other people who need it in our community. 

Food insecurity in the Upstate is very real. More than 45,000 residents in Greenville don’t know where their next meal is coming from and 76% percent of households who receive food assistance have kids under the age of 18 living at home. And more than half of kids who attend Greenville County Schools are eligible for free or reduced meals. 

Here’s the kicker though: globally, more than 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year. Why can’t that food go to the people who need it? That’s the question that eventually led to the founding of Loaves & Fishes.

Loaves & Fishes was founded in 1991 and has been acting as a bridge between those places with surplus food and those places that need that food. They have four refrigerated trucks, work with 110 partner agencies, and have an army of 300+ volunteers to ensure no good food goes to waste. 

Loaves & Fishes is not a food bank (this is a list of food resources in our area). They don’t store any food in their small office but can take food donations, which will go to those in need. But they make a huge difference in the community struggling with food insecurity. Last year, they rescued more than 2.7 million pounds of food.

Becoming a Food Rescuer with Loaves & Fishes 

It’s an easy job and anyone with a car can do it! You will choose a route from the weekly email from Loaves & Fishes, which will tell you where to pick up food and where to drop it off. 

Most of the places you’ll be picking up from are grocery stores like Publix, Lowes, and Food Lion. When we did our first route, we picked up from Publix. It was super easy – we just headed to the back of the store and told them we were from Loaves & Fishes. 

Publix has a log that you sign when you pick up the food so we signed that and they had our boxes ready to go. We packed them in the car and headed off to drop them off. 

Our destination was the Greer Community Ministries. The ladies were so kind there and had carts ready to help us unload all the goodies. It took only a few minutes to unload. Super easy. My kids helped with both loading and unloading so it didn’t take long. 

Keep track of what you pick up since you’ll need to enter it into a database that Loaves & Fishes has to keep an account of how many pounds of food they rescue and deliver each year.

Our route took about an hour total starting from our house to Publix to Greer Community Ministries and back. Loaves & Fishes tries to match the places donating to drop off locations nearby if they can. 

How to Become a Volunteer with Loaves & Fishes 

If you want to volunteer with Loaves & Fishes, fill out the volunteer form on their website. After that, you’ll be given dates to choose from to attend the 45-minute long Volunteer Orientation. This is super important as you’ll get all the helpful information you need to be a successful food rescuer. 

You can sign up for a route to do every week or just do them as you are able.

Families are welcome to volunteer together. There is no age limit

If you want to become a partner agency with Loaves & Fishes or run a non profit and want to learn more about working with them, information is on their FAQ page on the website.

Loaves & Fishes 
25 Woods Lake Road, Suite 810 Greenville
864.232.3595

Volunteering in Greenville

Looking for more ways to volunteer?
We have a guide for that.

The Kidding Around Guide to Volunteering in Greenville, SC

Over 10 Ways to Volunteer with Your Kids in Greenville, SC

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Looking for ways to go volunteering in Greenville? It is such a wonderful opportunity to teach children kindness, compassion, generosity and so much more. To help you out, KAG Contributor Kristina Hernandez created this list of ways to volunteer with your family. You’ll find ideas from food preparation to toy donations and meal deliveries. Thank you for serving your community!

Volunteering in Greenville

Be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Volunteering in the Upstate for more volunteer opportunities.

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How you can help: Food Bank Wish Lists, Greenville, SC

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Are you looking for ways you can help families in need in the Greenville area? We’ve identified several food bank needs in Greenville, SC and asked for wish lists of their most needed items. We hope this guide helps you help others. 

Food bank needs in Greenville, SC
Volunteering in Greenville

If you are looking for more ways to help, check out the guide to year-round Volunteer Opportunities In The Upstate for families

Whether it’s the holidays or not, times can get tough for families. And when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, your level of anxiety can skyrocket… especially if you have a family to feed. Over 62,000 people in Greenville County have that very stressful problem on their minds day in and day out.

But you can help. There are several food banks in the area that help families who need it most but are sometimes forgotten. Below is a “wish list” of certain items that are needed right now and where you can drop them off. Let’s cross off hunger from the list of stressors that some families are worried about.

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Greenville County Animal Care Has A Great Way For Your Kids To Volunteer While Reading!

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If your kids are between the ages of 8-15 and looking for a way to help in the community, Greenville County Animal Care has a fun way and will help both your child and the shelter dog! The Bucket Brigade Youth Volunteer Program gives kids the perfect opportunity to improve their reading skills while interacting with a furry audience, and we will tell you how to get involved.

Greenville County Animal Care Bucket Brigade Youth Volunteer Program

If you are looking for a way the whole family can volunteer, Greenville Animal Care’s Doggy Day Out is a great opportunity! Take a dog for a few hours to the park, hike at nearby Paris Mountain, or walk downtown.

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Volunteer Opportunities in the Great Outdoors Near Greenville, SC

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I know what you’re thinking. Where are the best outdoor volunteer opportunities near me? You’re in luck because Greenville, SC has a lot of organizations that need your help keeping Greenville beautiful! With the mantra of “give back to places you love” guiding our family’s approach to volunteer work, we have discovered there are plenty of opportunities to invest your time into the outdoor spaces and places you care about. Here are some of the volunteer stewardship opportunities in the Upstate, and how to get involved in the protection of our shared lands!

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Say ‘Thank You’ and Adopt-A-Cop: Greenville, SC

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Have you heard about the Adopt a Cop program in Greenville County? As I was mindlessly perusing Instagram one night I came across a photo of a Greenville County police officer holding a basket of goodies, smiling from ear-to-ear. The post thanked the community for the gifts for the police officer as part of their Adopt-A-Cop program.

There are several police families in my neighborhood so this sparked an interest and I definitely wanted to learn more. I contacted the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO), who told me all about the program and what to do. A day later, I signed on my family to adopt our own cop and I’m thrilled to be able to write about this awesome program.

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Volunteer Opportunities Near Greenville, SC For Families With Young Children

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More and more, families are using the holiday season to spread kindness and teach children the spirit of giving. Local mom Kristen Alcock and Kidding Around’s Melanie Coblentz are here with a number of ideas about how to include young children and volunteer as a family. Spread some cheer this season and give back!

For more volunteer opportunity ideas for older kids and adults see our list of ways to volunteer with kids in Greenville.

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