The best way to teach service to our children is to model it ourselves. One great way to do this is to make our homes a " service laboratory." The lessons children learn at home within their families are the ones that will live within them and spawn a lifetime of giving. One such activity that can be easily engaged in at home is A Giving Box.
For every dollar a child earns, a designated portion goes into the Giving Box. If a child earns a $3.00 allowance for chores, one dollar might go towards personal purchases, one dollar towards a college (or other) fund, and the third dollar to the Giving Box.
As opportunities arise such as the Toys for Tots campaign during the holidays, or the local food drive for the homeless shelter, take the dollars from the box and your children to the store to make the purchases. As a family, deliver the items where they need to go.
Actually letting the kids use the dollars to purchase physical items such as toys, clothing, or food, and by letting them participate in the delivery, they have a better understanding of how they can help.
Remember, the dollar amount isn't what is important, but rather the sense of compassion you are inspiring in your children by teaching them to set aside some of their "earnings" for those less fortunate.