When I was a kid, some of my favorite memories in school and Sabbath school were when we did community service projects with the whole family. I can remember bagging sand for downtown Mount Vernon, Washington when the Skagit River was flooding and picking up trash along the beach in the Salish Sea. The work may have been hard, but being side by side with other kids and families was fun and it made a lasting difference in my own life.
Now that I am a parent, my kids have been involved in homeless community service projects, canned food drives, coat drives, fun runs and have enjoyed them all. They love helping others and doing projects together with other families in church and school.
Why Community Service?
As a church, we believe that community service matters. In fact the mission of Adventist Community Services reveals it as a holistic ministry to “serve communities in Christ’s name.” Community service is not just for adults. Kids love to help do practical outreach in their nearby community with you. When kids participate in community service, they aren’t just giving their time, resources and gifts to others, they are also developing more empathy for those around them.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace (I Peter 4:10).
Laying a foundation of community service with your kids is so important. Being with your community, knowing your community, helping your community, are all active ways to demonstrate the love of God. We can build relationships, as a family with others in our area. Community service can include service that is physical, social, mental and spiritual. That is why this is truly a holistic ministry and kids love to help with it.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).
Community Service Examples
Here are 20 community service examples for the whole family:
- community clean up
- reading to younger kids
- cooking a meal for the homeless shelter
- gather clothing for a clothing drive
- make blessing bags
- adopt a senior citizen (visit, write letters, read to, clean yard, etc.)
- hand out food at a local food bank
- baked goods to the fire department or police station
- organize a canned food drive
- plant flowers
- raise money
- toys to a children's hospital
- volunteer at the animal shelter
- care packages to local military members overseas
- organize a fun run for your favorite local charity
- donate books to the local library
- support local businesses
- sing for nursing home residents
- organize a diaper drive for new moms
- start a neighborhood welcoming committee
These are just a few of the things that families can do in their community. I am sure you can add to this list with ideas for your own community. Don’t be afraid to start — the kids will love it. Foster empathy, model generosity, and be the hands and feet of Jesus — be a part of your community.
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth (I Peter 3:18).