Want to spread a little extra cheer this holiday season? How about bringing some joy to a homeless pet? It’s the perfect Joy Maker activity for the entire family. I am sharing this super easy DIY Doggie Bags project as part of my role as a Hasbro Kindness Ambassador. It’s inspired by a Kindness project from generationOn. I chose this particular project because it breaks my heart to think of so many homeless pets going without the love and companionship of a family during the holidays.

DIY Doggie Bags for Homeless Pets

Want to spread a little extra cheer this holiday season? How about bringing some joy to a homeless pet with a DIY doggie bag? It's the perfect Joy Maker activity for the entire family.

This project can be as simple or as involved as you choose to make it. The original project called for making your own treats. As much as I would have loved to do that, this has been a really hard week for my family. My aunt lost her battle with brain cancer and we’re all feeling a bit overwhelmed. I opted to use store-bought treats instead. If you’d like to try your hand at making the treats, check out the recipe here. I do suggest calling your local animal shelter ahead of time to make sure that they accept homemade treats (or treats that come from an open box, for that matter).

Supplies for this project:

  • Dog treats (either homemade or store bought). I added a couple different types, along with a dental chew stick.
  • Festive treat bags (you can get them at a dollar store)
  • ribbon, paper, washi tape or something else to secure the bag shut

I don’t think you need a step-by-step guide on how to make this one. Just put the treats in the bag and secure the bag shut with whatever you choose. Then gather the kids and take them along to deliver the treats! If your shelter allows it, you can also spend some time with the animals. If you feel like your kids (or you) won’t be able to handle that, it’s okay. Honestly, I start bawling the moment we drive up to the shelter. I can’t stand the thought of cats and dogs in cages, just waiting for someone to take them home and love them.

You can do the same thing for cats and make a few toys to go along with your treat bag! Check out this video for how to do it:

Other ways to spread joy to pets in need

If your shelter doesn’t accept the doggie bags with homemade or open-box treats in them, there are other ways you can help.

  • Ask your local shelter for their wish list (supplies they really need), then start a drive to collect as many as you can. You can even create a wish list online to share with friends and family far away.
  • Feed the ferals. I have a family of ferals outside that I help take care of, especially during the winter.
  • Make warm houses for feral cats outside your home. We made these out of thick styrofoam coolers lined with blankets. They aren’t much to look at after three winters, but they help keep my ferals from freezing. We’re going to try upgrading them to fancier adobes this year.


  • Share the profiles of pets up for adoption from your local shelter’s social media pages. You never know which one of your friends or followers is looking for a new companion!
  • Feeling particularly crafty? Make little dog sweaters for short-hair breeds to keep them warm in the winter. Greyhounds in particular need the extra layer of warmth.
  • Share your talents. If you can write, offer to write up fliers. Rock at social media? Offer to manage their accounts part time. You can also take pictures of adoptable pets for the shelter. These are great ideas for teens as well!

Check out this fact sheet with more ways to help pets in need!

What Is The Joy Maker Challenge?

Hasbro and generationOn partnered together again for the 7th annual Joy Maker Challenge. The campaign encourages kids from age 5-18 to spread joy during the holidays by volunteering in many different ways. Since 2010, the first year of The Joy Maker Challenge, kids have completed more than 960,000 acts of service.

Along with being a great way to teach kids about kindness and get them more involved in the community, Hasbro also donates a toy or game to Toys for Tots (up to $1 million worth) for every kid who volunteers throughout The Joy Maker Challenge. Over the last 7 years, Hasbro has donated 6 million dollars worth of toys.

Want to get involved? Now through December 23rd, visit The Joy Maker Challenge website to search for local volunteer projects, get ideas for projects of your own and share stories. The website has plenty of projects and downloadable toolkits to help you get started. At the end of the campaign, four grand prize winners will win a $500 grant, and 20 more participants will receive $250 grants each.

The Joy Maker Challenge is part of  BE FEARLESS, BE KIND, Hasbro’s new initiative designed to inspire kids and teach them how to find the courage and empathy to stand up for others.

Inspiring service projects completed by kids and teens over the years include:

  • San Clemente resident, Max Page, turned his garage into ‘The Giving Garage,’ inviting local families to pick up Hasbro toys to give to those in need during the holidays
  • Members of the Alchemy generationOn Service Club in New York City made ‘caring cards’ to send to those affected by last year’s events in Paris, France
  • 33 youth came together in Corvallis, OR to do a variety of service projects, including raking leaves in the yards of senior citizens and people with disabilities

Join the conversation surrounding The Joy Maker Challenge on social media by following the hashtags #JoyMaker and #BFBK!

What do you do with your kids to spread joy and cheer during the holidays to people in need? Share in the comments!