Well its Spring Break which means that things are topsy-turvy (but in a good way) around here!
This weeks theme is Serve and I will just be honest – between continuing to work on our kitchen project, writing deadlines, and getting the kids ready for their Spring Break trip to the grandparents I did not come up with anything new for this week. Instead I thought I would share with you a list of things that our family has done in the past to help serve our neighbors – local and worldwide – and give you a few links to really great post loaded with ideas for all ages on how to serve as a family – with kids of all ages. Serving with kids can be amazing as their hearts and eyes are twice as open as ours. The key to serving as a family is to find things that you all are passionate about – that fits your families values, interest, and skills. Our family loves to cook, loves to eat, loves to be at home together, loves to grow things – so all of the ways we serve tend to be focused around those sorts of projects – sharing meals and creating comfy, warm, environments. This week as you brainstorm with your family about how you can serve, begin by asking the questions: What do we love to do? And then ask, Who needs some of that? I think you will find serving so much more rewarding for everyone if you take this approach!
(feel free to copy and paste and print this Least of These image)
Here are a few ways that our family has served our neighbors in the past:
Decorating/Furnishing an Emergency Refuge House for Homeless Women and Children (the kids helped unpack all the donations, washed all the donated dishes, hauled trash, made beds, and helped put together furniture.)
Cooking Wednesday night meals for our church family for all of Lent (the kids set the tables, served the bread, washed dishes, helped prep salad fixins, and helped clean at the end.)
Collecting funds to build a house for a grandmother in Swaziland (we used social media to do this and it worked great!)
Collecting coins to buy blankets, thermos, and sweaters for homeless men (My youngest Miles created a collection jar to sit on my desk at work when he was 2nd grade. Once it was full we went to a local thrift store where he could get more bang for his buck, and he picked out an assortment of goods. On Christmas Eve we drove past a local shelter that was full and handed out everything he bought to the guys sleeping behind the dumpster. My boys even pulled out the $5 that their great-grandad had given them and gave that away as well.)
Collecting cans to trade in for gas cards for non-profits to use (Beer card, soda cans, tea cans – you name it – we collect cans, especially after a big cook-out or party. We donate these cans to a local non-profit who uses them to put gas in their vans that go into the community to work with those hurting.)
Handing out free stamps outside the post-office on Tax Day (of course this was before everyone filed electronically)
Cooking & serving meals in a Homeless Warming Shelter (the lines can get really long, so we handed the kids baskets of cookies and muffins and had them go hand out snacks to everyone who was waiting. They also took bowls of soup to those who had trouble walking and refilled cups with tea and water and coffee.)
Here are some links to some other great ideas for ways to serve:
Acts of kindness and Service for Spring Break
10 Acts of Love for Your Neighborhood
Dinner’s On Us (we have to do this soon!)
The Blind Side
Same Kind of Different as Me – Ron Hall
A Castle on Viola Street – Dyanne DiSalvo
Are you creating A Family Lent box to keep tactile reminders of your Lenten practice in? If so, for this week ‘s theme Serve have every family member write or draw an example of a service project that they would like your family to do in the next year. Doing a service project this week? Snap a couple of pictures and have them printed (old school!) and add those to the box as a reminder that what you does matter! Thanks again for sharing this Lenten journey with me! It has been a great adventure – and only one week left after this one!
PS –Want to see ideas from the previous two weeks? Here they are:
A Family Lent Week 1 – Surrender
Enjoying this series? Looking for more ways to practice faith at home?
Try my book A Homemade Year: The Blessings of Cooking, Crafting, and Coming Together
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