Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kids on a Mission v.1

Are you looking for ways to get your kids (and yourself) involved in helping others?

Looking for mission opportunities locally, globally?

With my kids, I prefer to get involved in things they can see and physically take part in. In a child's mind, it's one thing to say 'We're sending this money to help "mission x"' and a totally different thing to actually get out there and work together with them to physically help "mission x". Of course with some things, the best option and/or only option may be monetary donations. 

Here are several ideas (some that just require a little time and others that require a little money).

Local Missions

Crisis Pregancy Centers - we volunteer at our local center a few times each month and even more in the summer. There are some areas (such as counseling) when it is not appropriate to have your children with you, but there may be other options available. Perhaps your kids can help you do some light office work or run errans for the clinic. At our local center, Hope Women's Resource Clinic, they allow me to bring my kids and help out in the Blessings Boutique. The Boutique provides diapers, wipes, car seats, strollers, cribs, infant and maternity clothes, shoes, formula, baby food, shampoo, toys, bottles, pacifier, and the list goes on! My kids love to help sort, fold, and hang up baby clothes. The like to help bag up the ladies' items. They also have been known to entertain and keep busy the little children these ladies bring in with them allowing them to focus more on getting in and out with what they need. My kids also help me gather donations to bring to the clinic each month. To view even more ways to can help out at this particular clinic, please click here.  

Nutrition and Services for Seniors - we are looking to volunteer with this organization in the near future. Basically, you meet up with the local coordinator in your hometown, pick up the meals, then deliver them to the senior citizens on your route. It reminds me of the 'Meals on Wheels' program my grandfather used to get his lunch meals from. I remember what a blessing this was to him (and to my mom who was his primary care provider). In the meantime, here is what a trusted friend has to say about this mission opportunity. (paraphrased) There are many routes available. They try to pick the ones closest to your area. You can do it as often or as little as you want. You can also pick the day. My friend said it takes them about an hour to complete their route and they currently do this once a month. For more information about this mission opportunity, contact Jackie Prejean at 892-4455.

Christian Care Center - We have been involved on and off with this organization. They serve as a local food pantry offering needed groceries and staple items (such as school supplies and clothing) to the needy in the area. We have taken up food collections to donate to them. One thing my kids loved to participate in was their Christmas toy drive and it didn't even cost us a dime :) The organization works all year long gathering toys (so you can donate if you'd like) and a few weekls before Christmas, they need volunteers to bag up these toys and match them with particular children based on their needs/wants. This is the part we have participated in and it is perfect for families with young children...it's also a ton of fun! They also need volunteers to man the building and help pass out these toys when the families come to pick them up. (This is a task more for families with older children). To get involved in this local mission opportunity, contact 385-2237.

Bag O Blessings - this is something my kids and I plan to do. It is more of an outreach and encouragement ministry to the people who live right around you, but can be coupled with a neighbor who has certain needs as well. Our plan is to choose a neighbor (or neighbor family) once a month or every other month (we haven't worked out the particulars yet;). During that month, we will pray specifically for them, then try to gather little items/supplies, write notes, etc.. all month long for that neighbor and place in a bag. At the end of the month, we will leave it on their doorstep (we like the idea of *trying* to remain anonymous), but you can give it to them in person as well.  What else can I put in the bag? Well, try to really take notice of your neighbors. Do they have pets? What about some pet treats or a toy? Do they like to work in the garden? What about some specialty seeds or a small garden tool? Do they have kids? How about a small gift card/certificate to McDonald's or other place, a family game? What else? A packet of gum, travel wet wipes,  snack foods, gift card/certificate, an offer to mow their lawn, an offer to babysit their kids for free, an invitation to attend church with you one Sunday, invitation to come over to eat, the possibilities are endless! 

Blessing Bags for the Homeless -  I know at one time or another, we've all come to an intersection and seen a homeless person. What do you do? Give them money? What about giving them a blessing bag :) My husband comes in contact with numerous homeless individuals every day on his way to and from work. He likes to change his items up based on the seasons. To give you and example, his Winter Blessing Bags contained hand warmers, a knit hat/cap, a bottle of water, a Bible, misc easy open canned foods, etc... In the summer, he plans to change out the winter items with those cool neck tie things you wet with water to help cool yourself down. A more generic Blessing Bag could contain a pop-top style can of soup or meat, a pop-top style can of fruit, a bag of snacks or cookies or a package of crackers, a water bottle, a spoon, and a card with local church or homeless shelter contact info.

Global Missions

Kits for Kids - This mission opportunity is brought to you by the Baptist Global Response Organization. This is "a unique opportunity to help equip a child with the tools they need to get an education. It's also a chance for families to teach their children what it means to love others by helping needy kids." Basically, you pack several basic school supply items in a 2.5 gallon plastic slide-lock bag, include a kit label, and either drop your package off at a drop-off location in your area or ship your pack directly to their main headquarters. I know my kids are excited about getting to shop for other kids and help them have the necessary school supplies they need. The deadline for shipping your kits is October 31, 2011. I think we are going to wait a while on thei mission opportunity...say August September when school supplies are dirt cheap. To read more about this opportunity, click here .

Compassion International - Where oh where to begin? There are so many mission opportunities here...I guess I'll start with their widely-known sponsor child program. We have personally been a part of this minitry for over 10 years now and it has been such a blessing to our family. With your monthly donation, not only do they provide an education, medical provisions, and basic necessities, they also provide these children (and their families) with the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through Bible studies, church activities, classes, etc... You correspond with your sponsor child on a regular basis and are always kept up-to-date on your child and his/her activities. It's a lot like having a pen-pal :) Here is a link to a post I wrote a while back about our sponsor children. If this is not your thing, they also take donations for a child survival program which helps rescue mom and their babies. You can also donate specifically to meet critical needs in certain areas or donate to help educate student leaders through their leadership development program.

Samaritan's Purse - We are currently supporting this organization through our adult Sunday School class. Together, our class has raised enough money to dig 2 wells which will provide clean, life-sustaining water to certain areas in need. You can donate money for cows, chickens, pigs, etc... You know the saying "If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime". Well, this is basically what this program does. There are many, many other ways to help out (like their ever popular shoe-box program) through this organization. Just visit their link and check out the section titled 'Ways to Give'.

Donate to the Japan Relief Effort - There are several options here.
*Baptist Global Response - donate money and choose what that money is for ex) water, blanket, food, etc... Click here to find out more.
*World Vision - "aids children and families around the world in the wake of natural and man-made disasters." Click here to find out more.
*Save the Children - "provides disaster relief with food, medical care and education and remains to help communities rebuild through long-term recovery programs." Click here to find out more.
*Convoy of Hope - "is trying to move food, water and other immediate supplies to the victims in Japan."
Click here to find out more.
*Samaritan's Purse - "is distributing essential items including food, water, medicine, blankets, weatherproof plastic, and other materials to communities along the northeastern Japanese coast." Click here to find out more.
*Salvation Army - " immediately sent teams following the earthquake and tsunamis to the most severely affected regions where they are distributing basic necessities to survivors." Click here to find out more.

Before you go getting yourself overwhelmed looking at this list...take a deep breath, pray about where you feel the Lord leading you and your family to volunteer or support, then go for it! Start off small and add to it as you feel the Lord leading.

And remember...we can't do everything, but everyone can do something :)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Pauline for this post! YES!!! I have been praying and wondering if there is anything around here for our family to do to serve Christ as we serve others!!! I have not heard of any of these and will be checking into them more!

    This post is an answer to prayer.

    Thanks for the resources!!!!!!


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