Are you looking for something fun and memorable for your family reunion or youth activity? Service always feels good and its benefits last way beyond the event. Check out these service ideas:
1. Summer Essentials for the Homeless
Invite your family or neighborhood to donate the following items for a local agency that serves the homeless: sunscreen, sunglasses, foot powder or cream, insect repellent, lip balm with SPF protection, a hat or visor. If you have equal amounts donated you can put one of each item in a large ziplock or cinch bag to give to the organization for easy distribution. Or they will gladly accept a box of any of those items. To take this service a step further and make a real connection, contact the agency in advance and take your group to serve a meal to the homeless, and then give the agency the donated items.
2. Do a Shift at Your Local Food Bank
We did this as part of our family reunion. We have all ages so not everyone could participate, but many did and it was a great way to work side by side and get reacquainted. Add to this activity by inviting family members to bring food items to donate. Food banks are especially low this time of year. Children who get free breakfast and lunch during the school year often go hungry during the summer months and their families need additional help.
3. Assemble First Aid Kits for Special Needs Summer Camps or for Agencies servicing Families/Parents in Crisis.
This project works best if your group has existing funds or is willing to donate money in advance so purchasing all the items can be done ahead of time. We did 50 kits and the total cost for the items was around $500. I purchased all the first aid items and the soft pencil cases (to put everything in) online. We piggybacked the kit assembly with a dinner the group was having.
Here’s a list of items used for the kits:
– pencil bag
– 2 first aid cream antibiotic packets
– 15 band aids (we put these in a very small ziplock)
– 2 spot bandages
– 4 knuckle/fingertip bandages
– 2 gauze rolls (1.5-2 inch)
– 2 dressing gauze pads (2×2″)
– 2 insect relief wipes
– 1 large trauma pad
– 6 antibacterial hand wipes
– 10 antiseptic alcohol towelettes
– 4 nitrile gloves
4. Organize a 5K for your neighborhood or church group where the entry fee is a donated pair of new or gently used shoes.
Check out how this youth group in Houston did it. Great project this summer so kids can have shoes for back to school!
5. Find a special cause that your family or youth group has interest in or passion for. For example, my friend’s family loves the arts. So, for their family reunion they worked as volunteers at an arts festival. Another family has a nephew who has special needs so their family worked as volunteers for Special Olympics. Another family has an aunt with cancer, so they were volunteers for a race benefiting cancer research.
6. Help your children serve in small ways: organize a lemonade stand!!
Check out this amazing story about how Alex, a girl who was fighting cancer herself, started having lemonade stands to help other families who had kids with cancer.
You can run a lemonade stand of your own. The organization, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, will even send you a fundraising packet for free to help you get started. What I love is that in their lists of donations, they list families-who probably had little kids who just set up a simple stand-who sent in just $25. It doesn’t have to be big to make a big impact-for the giver or the receiver. Find out more about organizing your own lemonade stand here.