Andy and Sarah are on a mission to teach their kids the joy of helping others.

What started out as a volunteer opportunity turned into a fun and rewarding way to spend time together as a family.

Have you ever thought about packing the whole family in the car for a road trip — while helping others along the way?

Andy and Sarah Ferguson did just that.

Andy wanted to put the family car to good use and find a way for Noah, age 8, and James, age 5, to help others. Citymeals on Wheels turned out to be a perfect fit for the whole family.


Not only did they discover a great organization where the boys could truly be helpful, but Andy and Sarah found several ways to teach their sons about compassion, patience, and kindness through bringing meals to elderly people who are homebound.

Image via Andy Ferguson, used with permission.

Noah and James help organize the meals as their parents reference the list of recipients on the delivery route. Then the whole family piles into the car and drives to the Bronx while the boys look for the street signs and building numbers that their parents read from the list. The boys take turns carrying the meals, pushing elevator buttons, or finding and ringing the right doorbells.

Some of the Citymeals on Wheels recipients have ailments, illnesses, or disabilities that make it difficult for them to leave their homes.

Many of them are delighted to see the children. Some have even said that receiving a meal from Noah and James is the best part of their weekend.

While Andy admits that knowing his sons can bring joy to someone who needs their help might be his favorite thing about volunteering, he knows that greater life lessons are being instilled in his children through volunteering for Citymeals.

Volunteering is a great way to get exposure to different perspectives.

While delivering meals, Noah and James get to see how people who are different from them live their lives.

The boys have had glimpses of many different homes and apartments, and they can see that some people are less fortunate. Some are less organized. Some keep immaculate homes. Some are very gracious and appreciative. Some are indifferent. Some need a lot of help. Some have a hard time making it to the door.

Andy and Sarah have had countless teachable moments while driving around the Bronx with their sons.

"They ask questions about the woman they just saw with an oxygen tank, and the man who answered the door in a wheelchair," says Andy. "It gives us an opportunity to show them that sometimes people need help, and we are able to be the ones who can help them."

While the boys have fun getting in and out of the car and peeking in the doors of different apartments, Andy hopes that when they're older, they'll remember the smiles on the faces of recipients and how easy it is to help someone else.

"I want them to learn to help whenever they can. If they see someone in need and they can offer a hand, that they'll be the types of people who'll just do it."

A family road trip can be an adventure, but for Andy, Sarah, Noah, and James, delivering for Citymeals makes for a road trip with a totally different kind of purpose and destination.

Instead of driving to a park, landmark, museum, or something for their own amusement on a Saturday afternoon, their car takes them to opportunities to experience more compassion, kindness, gratitude, and community. And that's well worth the trip.

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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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