I think a lot about service in my life. Service is one of the characteristics I believe Christ to have, and it is very important for us to have and/or work towards. I believe that service and charity go hand in hand, and that charity is the Pure Love of Christ. Service is also a main part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, of which I belong. And there are many ways to serve...not just through a church, or to friends, or in your families (which are all great!), but through other organizations and venues as well.
For instance, I've been looking for a service project to accompany an activity for the women of our church (happening in July) and I even emailed the ladies in our ward/group for ideas. The range of ideas in this area is amazing, and I am so glad that I do not have to pick the final project for this activity (considering the activity is for the group of women in Missouri, not Puerto Rico-where I currently live).
Here are some of the service ideas the ladies emailed me, along with a few I've seen pop up around blogland recently:
-Ronald McDonald House Charities: the Kansas City area receives help from volunteers year round with party decor, handmade cards, etc. Other RMHC may use this help as well.
-Hospitals: some hospitals take donations, like handmade hats for babies and/or cancer patients, stuffed animals, and/or blankets. Another helpful item may be activity books (mazes, coloring sheets, crossword puzzles) for the waiting rooms.
-Fire Departments/Police Stations: some FD and PS take donations of stuffed animals to give away to children that have experienced some sort of trauma (think car accidents, violence, etc.)
-Women's Shelters: many shelters need toiletries, blankets, pillow cases, etc.
-Quilt Tying: many different organizations take quilt donations and distribute blankets to foreign countries that experienced natural disasters; including the LDS Humanitarian Center.
-Enchanted Makeovers: www.enchantedmakeovers.org helps organize sewing capes for children staying in shelters, giving kids an item to play with that doesn't take up much space and gives the gift of creative play, among other projects.
-New Mothers: make baby blankets and/or burp cloths for new moms in your area, or create support groups where new moms can come learn, enjoy each others company, and get out of the house :)
-Foster Care Foundation: one current service project for Foster Care Foundation is called "Skirting the Issue." To see more info, go here. Other projects are probably going on as well, I just don't have the info.
-Humanitarian Service: many ideas here and LDS Humanitarian Center ideas here.
-Teeny Tears: an organization that helps grieving loved ones of angel babies. Read their blog here and see another blog post about a specific project.
Okay, so I know this list is not all encompassing...but it's a good place to jump start anyone's willingness to serve. I'd like to open up the comment section for you guys to include ideas and links for other service projects and opportunities. I think it would be a great idea to have a running list on the blog for the next couple of months, because summer is a great time to utilize your kids' energy and crave of structure to teach charity and service for others...so please feel free to send your ideas my way! (This is me pleading with you!!!)
May your hearts be full of love for another, who may cross your path today ;)