Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Show and Tell Tuesday - Serving Others

I've started and deleted and then started and deleted this post about 4 times in the last few days.  It's hard to find the balance between sharing things you do with your family to give back and not coming across as self-important or braggy.  My hope is that today we can all share a few ways in which we give back to hopefully inspire each other, give each other a few ideas and challenge ourselves to be more generous with our time and money. 

- Church -
One of the main ways we give back as a family is through our Church.  We have the opportunity to support missionaries all over the world and provide for the needs of local families who may need assistance.  Our church often coordinates other opportunities for giving such as  Shoes for Orphan Souls,  Operation Christmas Child and the  Angel Tree which we participate in as well.  If you're looking for a way to give I highly recommend getting in touch with a church in your area as they often know of needs that you can help with.

- Operation Christmas Child - 
Operation Christmas Child is something that we've done for years and the program only gets better and better every year.  You pack a shoebox with treats and essentials, label it, include a personal photo and note and then get to track where it ends up.  It's a FANTASTIC way for kids to feel involved and included and the tracking aspect of it can open up some great conversations and hopefully expand their little worldviews to include other countries, continents and people groups in need. 

- Samaritan's Purse -
Samaritan's Purse puts out  a gift catalog every year where you can purchase items that others need as a gift for people on your list.  Meals for a hungry child, prenatal and maternity care, water filters, animals, etc.  The catalog is extensive and we will typically let our kids pick out something as a gift for grandparents, each other, etc. 

- Assisted Living Center Visits -
Visiting assisted living centers is something that I grew up doing with my grandmother and mom.  My Oma was always "visiting" and she'd take me with her when we were visiting her and I quickly learned that it didn't take a lot of anything (other than your presence!) to really brighten someone's day.  My mom and I would visit a local assisted living center on Sunday afternoons while I was in high school and I met some incredible people and heard some unbelievable stories from the residents.  Visiting assisted living centers is something that Dave and I have done with our kids multiple times and we always leave saying we want to go back more often.  

(FYI - we call ahead, check on what time is best with the activity director and sometimes we'll have an organized activity to help with and other times we've gone and just knocked on doors to say hello.  I'd definitely call ahead if you want to go and if your kids are uncomfortable in the setting (which is totally understandable!) try looking into assisted living centers instead of a nursing home or memory care facility for your first visit or two).  

- Cards for Hospitalized Kids - 
I feel like I talk about Cards for Hospitalized Kids ALL THE TIME but it's such a great organization and such a simple way to make a big impact that I couldn't not mention it.  All you do is make cards for kids who are hospitalized, mail them in and that's it!  They distribute them to children's hospitals all over the country and your little bit of creative time will positively impact a child's day. 

Last time I talked about doing this someone mentioned that including jokes on the cards would be something that the kids would enjoy so I did just that...

They're cheesy and simple and perfect for kids to help with :)

I colored a few examples and then set a big stack of blank cards in my rolling cart in my classroom.  Most kids have colored pencils or markers in their bags and this way when they have that extra 2-3 minutes at the end of class, after a quiz or in between assignments they can color one (or two!), return them to the finished stack and I'll mail them in the week after Thanksgiving.

I did the same thing at home.  Made a stack or blank cards, set them out on the art table and I'll gather up their finished work in a week or so to send in.

The guidelines for what you can/can't include on your cards as well as information on where to send them in can be found  HERE.  

If you'd like to download and print the cards I created (I didn't draw these - I used free clipart) you can click HERE.

You don't have to use a template though and they don't even have to be seasonal cards.  I found some great Christmas stickers in the Dollar Spot at Target that I'm going to let my kids loose with this weekend with some construction paper and we'll add those to our finished stack of cards.

This is the perfect activity to do at a Christmas party, with a group of kids, to relax in the evenings before bed (who else finds coloring relaxing?!?!!).  My kids love to craft and color and quite often those projects end up on the fridge for a day or so and then in the trash so crafting for a cause instead is so much better.  

I'm hoping you found a new way (or two!) to give back and I'm looking forward to reading through your posts and comments to find ways that my family and I can be more involved and actively helping others.  

Happy Tuesday, friends!



  1. Thank you for sharing the information about the cards for hospitalized kids. I would love to do that with my students and my own kids. The cards you made are adorable! I would love to print them if you're willing to share them. I can't wait to make this a new holiday tradition and want to work on making them throughout the year as well. What a great organization!

  2. I love this Andrea, thank you for sharing!

  3. All wonderful ideas! Our favorite thing to do as a family every year is to go shop for angels off of an angel tree. We always try to pick boys that are close to Carter's age so he can get excited about the items he is picking out for our kiddo. I also think it helps it really sink in that there are little boys just like him who don't have toys (rather than if we were buying baby dolls for a little girl). I also think it helps instill the spirit of giving when we are buying things for somebody else that he really wants for himself...and that he can get excited about giving them to others.

  4. Those Christmas cards!!! 😍 Thanks for hosting!

  5. Thanks for hosting Andrea. I think we all feel weird about sharing but I also think there are so many out there who really want to serve but just aren't sure how to get started!

  6. Yes, please share and let us print the same cards you showed. :)

  7. Love the holiday cards with jokes on them! Such a good idea :) I think we will do this with the grandchildren after Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks for sharing, Andrea!

  8. My students really LOVE doing the Cards for Hospitalized Kids!! We have already started them and are also making cards for a little boy battling brain cancer who wants to receive homemade cards. As a family, one of the things we had our kids do when they were young was the Angel Tree at church, I still give to it. On Christmas Eve, we celebrate at my parents house and we support an organization that helps unwed mothers. That night, we make knot blankets for the new babies and make gift bags for the mothers with things like gloves, lotion, lip balm, deodorant, Christmas candy, gum, etc. I am also part of a crochet group at church that makes prayer shawls and blankets for those in need. We make hats for the NICU and homeless veterans too.

  9. Great ideas. I love Operation Christmas CHild.I ordered the shoeboxes and can't wait to fill them with my boys. Always important to give back.

  10. We have been loving the Cards for kids. I have printed the ones you made and leave them on our dining room table. The kids always sit and color a few.

  11. I love this so much. I love that you do so many things with your kids to help them see and help others!

  12. Omg, your cards are too cute. I love the little jokes! I'm sure that does cheer up a kid. I'd love to do this with my niece and nephew someday!! I think they'd enjoy it. I also really love Operation Christmas Child.


  13. Great ideas! There is an app called Just serve and once you sign up you can browse service opportunities near you. You also get a weekly email with service opportunities that are new or more immediate need levels close to home. Things like food pantry help, special Olympics volunteers, working with refugee families as a mentor, etc. Most things involve more of giving time than giving means. It is a great way to see what needs in your community are.

  14. Thank you for the printable's! Adding to our coloring table today!

  15. Just took my son to Target last night to fill his Operation Christmas Child box. So much fun.

  16. I love this post- thank you for sharing!

  17. Thank you for sharing your ideas for serving, and encouraging so many others to do so too. There is so much need in our world, but the benefit to those serving is as great as it is for those receiving. When parents engage with their children in community service, they pass along the spirit of giving and goodness to their sons and daughters, strengthen their families, and create a new generation of volunteers, philanthropists, and kind, caring adults.

    - Lisa, Board Member, Doing Good Together

  18. Thank you for supporting Samaritan's Purse. I'm a disaster response nurse with them (for the last 8 years) and I can tell you that they are amazing, and the gospel IS being shared out on the field (in Iraq where I have been 2x this last year, and recently Dominica after the cat 5 storm hit) and S. Purse takes the money they receive and really use it well. They are good stewards of that money. I also enjoy supporting the local crisis pregnancy (Christian) center in out town, and our church has a prison ministry.

  19. Really enjoyed this post!! Great ideas

  20. I loved this post! I have loved a lot of these organizations for a long time. You could really see your heart through this post.. keep shining for Jesus Andrea!! :)

    Juliana Grace | www.julianagraceblogspace.com

  21. Oh Andrea, Thank you so much for this post. The cards are amazing and the perfect activity/project for my 3 young kiddos. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful ideas on how we can help others.

  22. These are wonderful ideas! I've been thinking about taking my kids to an assisted living facility for quite some time now and I always chicken out. This is back on the top of my to do list. :)


  23. Love your servant heart! I, too, participate in Operation Christmas Child. I get great joy from packing a shoebox with goodies. I'm definitely going to check out the site regarding sending cards to sick kids.

  24. Thank you so much for making these templates!


Blog design by Get Polished | Copyright 2016