Monday, July 13, 2009

Service Projects

This morning the kids and I went to cook at Meals on Wheels for the first time in a long while. We used to go once a month, but when the baby came along we took a break. The older kids really love getting to do projects like this, but I am often at a loss for ways they can serve. A few years ago I spent days phoning various local organizations to see how we might volunteer, and was turned down by most groups. I would love to hear how other parents provide service projects for their children. What hands on ideas do you all have for teaching your children to help those in need?

6 comments:

orrologion said...

I had just been thinking how wonderful a witness it would be if we Orthodox threw banquets not for hierarchs, but by hierarchs for the poor (whether Orthodox or non-Orthodox). Instead of feting the bishop, the bishop and clergy would serve the poor, the guests, etc. Nothing fancy, but helping pass out bagels, pour coffee, etc. would be wonderful.

Perhaps something similar could be done on the parish level on a regular basis. Instead of coffee hour by and for the parish, how about coffee hour as outreach, as service, as feeding the hungry?

If one were worried about mentally ill homeless people showing up, perhaps a more targeted call list to food pantries, charities for the working poor, those with kids on WIC, the local pregnancy crisis center, etc.

Erin said...

Does your parish do any kind of regular service project, say with a soup kitchen or something? Ours does this once a month, third Saturday of the month. We provide all the food (meaning cooking/buying in advance) and do all the serving at a local soup kitchen which is held three times a week at another local church. On our parish's Saturday, we almost always take the whole family and it's great for everyone - even 3yo likes to help. Often other churches have programs going and love to have a whole parish volunteer to pitch in on a regular basis. It's good for all ages in a parish.

orrologion said...

No, we've done it periodically, but not regularly like you do. Perhaps once a year or so - primarily just the kids.

I'm at a Greek parish, so serving is reserved for the festival and the money it brings in rather than serving others outside of the community for its own (or their) sake. Sad, but true.

That's why I've been trying to think of ways to transform things we already do it something that isn't just self-serving.

she who must be obeyed said...

orrologion - Our church does participate in a soup kitchen run by a Catholic church downtown about 5 times per year. The problem is our location is very rural farm land, not urban. There is another Orthodox church about 25minutes from us that runs a soup kitchen once a month, and we are going to try to participate in that.

tarab said...

when we were at Vandy, the Alliance prepared 2 meals per month at Hopsital Hospitality House near Centennial Park. They were always eager for help in this area and were even more appreciative of the fellowship to the people staying there. And those staying there always loved to see the children. We would pop in and cook up an easy meal, clean up our mess and hang out a few minutes. It may be different now and I no longer have a contact at HHH, but you (and maybe a couple of friends) could pull it off without a hitch. It would be a drive for you, but it was always worth it.

Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

We have similar issues - can't exactly take a 2yo to a soup kitchen. For the moment, our main service/ministry focus as a family is to meet the needs of the Body of Christ in our "circle" as they pop up. Sort of imitating Jesus' ministry to the person standing in front of him with a need. Most often, this includes working together to prepare and deliver a meal for a new baby; illness; grief, etc. In addition to making the meal, the kids make cards to take and we have a time of prayer for the family. Many times, we babysit children for a family going thru a rough patch. Meaghan and I have done sanctuary flowers for church a couple of times - that was fun service! And the boys are now old enough to go with me to the food pantry when it's our church's month to supply volunteers. We also try to go to our "church work day" as a family, performing things like washing tables and chairs, and spreading mulch on the playground.
The one "organized" thing we're planning to do this year for the community at large is to attend birthday parties (once per month) at a local assisted living center. There's so much more I want to do, but that's why there are seasons of life, right? Someday...