This year, I’ve enjoyed more than ever the opportunity to serve our community with my children. Elijah and Graham are getting old enough to understand the importance of service, and Abbey’s getting easier to bring along wherever we go. As we’re now halfway through summer, I wanted to share with you some of our Elevation Outreach team’s best opportunities to serve with your children before they head back to school.
GIVE A GIFT:: When you’re shopping for your child’s school supplies grab extra items for a homeless child served through A Child’s Place. Lace up some shoes and bring an extra new pair or two to share with our partner Samaritan’s Feet. This is my current favorite for my boys because they’ve got specific tasks they can complete. They get to sort, tie, count, and drop shoes in big boxes in a big warehouse where nobody cares how loud they are, and running between tasks is actually encouraged. Any time of year you can pack a shoebox full of gifts for a child through Operation Christmas Child and Samaritan’s Purse. This is a favorite of Elevation staff mom Kelly Hubatka for her four girls and Elevation Providence mom Dana Ramsey who says, “My kids (Christian, 8 and Caroline, 13) love helping other children and take ownership of the process.”
FEED SOMEBODY:: One of the easiest ways to relate the importance of service to kids is through food. They understand that everybody needs to eat. And they can be a part of feeding somebody in so many ways. Elevation Blakeney mom Erin Proctor says her two kids (Tamarah, 12 and Ty, 8) get up at 5:30am once a month with no complaints to serve breakfast as a family at Charlotte Rescue Mission. Proctor says the kids feel empowered to truly serve as they say good morning and bring breakfast plates out to the men’s tables. At Samaritan House, you and your eGroup can serve and share dinner together with homeless neighbors recovering from surgery. Our church has scheduled, regular opportunities with these two partners so you won’t have to serve alone – seasoned volunteers will be there with you to show you how everything works. Next time you’re at the grocery store, you can pick up an extra bag full for Matthews Help Center or Hope Cancer Ministries. Both these organizations are experiencing a shortage in their food pantries and would really appreciate your help. The kids can help put the groceries on the shelf at drop off if you have time as you help them understand the importance of sharing. And everybody loves the smell of freshly baked cookies. You can whip up your favorites on site to share with patient families at Ronald McDonald House.
CLOTHE SOMEBODY:: When you’re cleaning out your closets for new fall fashions, take your outgrown clothing to our partners at Crisis Assistance Ministry, Project 658, or Camino Community Center. The operation at Crisis is huge. Thousands of items of clothing circulate through there every day and kids age five and up are a big help.
SHARE YOUR TIME:: One of the sweetest new opportunities this summer is at Charlotte Family Housing’s Hawthorne Place. Elevation University campus pastor Larry Brey spent the night there this month with his son Corbin (age 6). Our service Sunday through Thursday nights once a month allows CFH to save thousands of dollars. “We’d been there less than an hour and Corbin was already asking when we were coming back,” said Brey. You arrive at 8:30pm, play with kids getting ready for bed, visit with parents transitioning out of homelessness, and tuck yourself into a private little room with your own bathroom and bunk bed.
You can also go Here to see a few events that we are already doing this summer. You can sign up and jump in!
You can find out more about any of these outreach opportunities by emailing our outreach team, or follow them on the Elevation Outreach blog.