Nurse Appreciation

Nurse's Survival Kit

Poor persons will never disappear from the earth. That’s why I’m giving you this command: you must open your hand generously to your others, to the needy among you, and to the poor who live with you in your land. Deuteronomy 15:11

Serve: nurses (school, local hospital, etc.) during National Nurses Week, May 6-12

Connect: help children think of a time when they have been physically hurt or sick and a nurse has helped to care for them; nurses often work long hours and do extra because they care about others and a simple, fun “thank you” can help them know they are respected and appreciated

Extra: invite a nurse to share about why he/she became a nurse and what it means to serve others in this profession

Materials: 

  • survival kit explanation card printed onto cardstock
  • nurse’s prayer printed onto colored paper:
    Holy God, guide the heart, hands, and healing words of this special nurse each day as this person cares for your children in need of healing. Help each nurse provide comfort and compassion at just the right moment. And when the day comes to an end, allow for peaceful rest to keep this person strong to continue again in healing ministry. Amen.
  • sandwich or snack bags
  • marker
  • crayons (optional)
  • For each kit:
    • lifesaver
    • marble
    • candle
    • snicker
    • starburst
    • button
    • lollipop
    • mint
    • tootsie roll
    • gum

Directions: 

  • put one of each item in a bag
  • give each child a marker to write his/her first name on nurse’s prayer card
  • ask each child to read the prayer before putting it inside the kit
  • have children use crayons to color the front of the survival kit explanation card (optional)
  • seal the bag
  • fold the explanation card in half along the dotted line
  • staple it over the top of the baggie zipper (try not to cover the contents too much)

Outreach Oatmeal

Oatmeal Packets

I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 25:35

Serve: hungry members of the community; local shelters

Connect: for most kids, oatmeal is a staple food and they are probably most familiar with it in its prepackaged, instant form; help kids appreciate the goodness of oatmeal as a hearty and healthy food source but also one that is not expensive, made even less expensive with a homemade version so that with a little effort, children will be able to help more people for less money

Go Further: show kids the difference a little effort can make with a quick object lesson:

  • show kids a box of prepackaged instant oatmeal, affirming that 10 people can enjoy a good meal by each eating one package, and the cost is about $2.50
  • ask children if they think spending about $0.25/meal is a good deal? feeding 10 people for $2.50 a good thing? what if you could feed six times as many people?
  • pour out the contents of a large container of instant oats into a clear bowl; scoop out a 1/4 cup of oats and explain that is how much is in an average packet; there are about 60 servings in one container of instant oats, and the cost is about $3.70
  • ask children if they think spending $0.06/meal is better than $0.25/meal? is feeding 60 people the same amount of food better than only feeding 10?
  • explain that they can go the easy way and feed 10 people or put in a little effort and feed six times that many people

Materials: 

  • print cooking instructions onto Avery® 8160 labels (add your church name and address)
  • 12 oz. styrofoam cups (double check the label for microwave safety)
  • markers (optional)
  • plastic spoons
  • measuring cups
  • plastic wrap
  • twist ties
  • instant oats
  • brown sugar, cinnamon, etc. (optional)
  • cinnamon
  • snack size baggies (alternative for styrofoam cups and plastic wrap)

Directions:

  • give each child a 12oz styrofoam cup and explain it will be used as a bowl
  • have children attach a label to the cup
  • children can decorate the outside of the cups with markers (optional)
  • combine into a 12oz styrofoam cup
    • 3/4 cup of instant oats
    • 2 plastic spoonfuls of brown sugar
    • 1/2 plastic spoonful of cinnamon
  • place the styrofoam cup in the center of a piece of plastic wrap
  • gather the plastic wrap up and around the cup, secure closed with a twist tie

Welcome Everyone Stickers

image

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34).

As a disciple, I strongly believe in the message to love others as Christ has loved us. This motivates me to work as an advocate for the full inclusion of all people in the life of the church and society regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. I believe RFRA, a new law in Indiana legalizing discrimination, stands in direct opposition to Jesus’ command to love others. To show support to all people and to make a visible stand against discrimination, I have joined with others to create a free sign for churches* to show they welcome everyone. This sign is intentionally modeled after the Open for Service movement, which many businesses are using, and donations are appreciated.

To learn more about the importance of people of faith standing against this legislation, please read  Reconciling Ministries Network’s letter “When the Right to Discriminate Collides with the Rites of Holy Week.” 

*You can easily create stickers by printing directly onto Avery® Removable Full Sheet Labels 6470.

Posted in Uncategorized

Care Compress

Sock Compress

I’d still take comfort, relieved even though in persistent pain; for I’ve not denied the words of the holy one.
Job 6:10

Serve: persons who have chronic physical pain, a physical disability, or recovering from surgery

Connect: every child has experienced a bump or bruise and the resulting pain; try to help them understand that some people experience that kind of pain all day, every day; in the same way children have experienced care and comfort from aches and pains, they have the opportunity to make something that will bring comfort to others time and again

Materials:

  • crew style white cotton sock
  • rice, not instant
  • dried lavender (optional)
  • sharpie markers
  • rubber bands
  • wide ribbon
  • poem with directions printed onto card stock:
    This little sock filled with rice,
    is such a comforting device.
    Microwave for 1-2 minutes on high
    and kiss those aches and pains goodbye.
    Apply it to the troubled spot,
    the heat will ease the pain a lot.
    Or warm those little toes so cold,
    you’ll find this nice to have and hold.
    Or freeze it for a little while,
    and fix that boo-boo up in style.
    Instead of a compress made of ice,
    use this pillow filled with rice.

Directions:

  • allow kids to decorate the outside of a sock with sharpie markers
  • fill the sock with rice leaving about 2-inches at the top
  • add a few pinches of dried lavender (optional)
  • secure the sock closed with a rubber band
  • cover the rubber band with a decorative ribbon
  • attach the card with directions to the ribbon

Special Note:

When we introduced this mission project at North United Methodist Church, we invited Jeremy Warriner, a church member and double amputee, to share his story of living with a physical disability and pain. In a uniquely wonderful way, Jeremy talked with the children and encouraged them in their mission project to share care and comfort with others. For the kids, and all of us adults too, Jeremy put a face to the mission so that suddenly it wasn’t serving “somebody” but rather serving our friends, like Jeremy who many of the kids lovingly know as “the man with robot legs.”

Thanks to Artsy-Fartsy Mama for the cute poem to include with this mission project.

Washing Works

Washing Works

You must wash your clothes on the seventh day and you will be clean. Numbers 31:24

Serve: homeless and transient populations who may not have access or means to use washing machines but cold wash clothes by hand in a sink* (a large batch of soap is also a great gift to a local shelter)

Connect: children probably know better than most that dirt and messes happen, but they may not yet appreciate that washing clothes takes some work; challenge children to consider what it would be like to wear the same clothes for days and weeks without washing

Materials:

  • zoat laundry soap
  • butcher knife
  • cutting board
  • borax
  • washing soda
  • quart size baggies
  • print washing instructions on to Avery® 5162 labels:
    add 1-2 Tablespoons per load of laundry
  • cheese graters
  • measuring cups
  • plastic spoons (optional)

Directions:

  • an adult can use a large butcher knife and cutting board to divide a bar of zoat into three equal pieces
  • show kids how to use a cheese grater to shave soap
  • combine into a quart size bag:
    • 1/3 bar of zoat, shaved
    • 1 cup of borax
    • 1 cup of washing soda
  • seal the bag well and shake to mix
  • add a label with washing instructions
  • put in a plastic spoon to measure soap for washing (optional)

 

*This laundry soap works great in cold water and rinses well to leave clothes clean without the need for a washing machine, which makes it perfect for those who do not have the means to use laundry appliances or who choose to wash in cold water to save money.

Busy Bags

Busy Bags

So continue encouraging each other and building each other up, just like you are doing already1 Thessalonians 5:11

Serve: children waiting in a hospital emergency room

Connect: every child can relate to a time when he/she felt bored and also feelings of uncertainty, help children connect that these feelings are often magnified when a child is waiting in a hospital emergency room for treatment or for a loved one to receive care

Materials:

  • gallon size zipper bags
  • markers
  • labels with church name and address
  • for each busy bag:
    • 4-6 coloring pages
    • 4-6 blank drawing paper
    • 4 crayons, various colors (packs sold online)
    • sharpened pencil
    • stickers
    • 3-4 pipe cleaners (optional)
  • copy paper box for finished bags

Directions:

  • set up an assembly line of materials for the bags
  • have children write “Busy Bag” on a gallon zipper bag
  • show children how to fold the coloring pages and drawing paper hamburger style to fit neatly into the bag
  • ask children to assemble one of each item per bag
  • help children get as much air out of the bag as possible before closing
  • have children put a label with church information on the back of the bag
  • deliver assembled bags to a local emergency room

TIP: instead of tearing out coloring pages, break the binding to lay the book flat and use a paper trimmer

Sweet Dreams

Pillows

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24

Serve: children at local shelters*

Connect: many children (and adults!) take for granted sleeping on a bed with linens and pillows, but sadly many people go without these things right at home in our local communities; help children connect by sharing about their favorite blanket, pillow, or stuffed animal and how they may feel if they didn’t have any of those things to rest with

Materials:

  • fleece
  • measuring tape or ruler
  • scissors
  • fiberfill stuffing
  • clothespins
  • pillow kits are an easy and quick alternative

Advance Preparation:

  • layer two pieces of fleece
  • cut a 17×17-inch square (makes a 14×14-inch pillow)
  • with both pieces together, cut a 3×3-inch square out of each corner
  • cut fringe around all sides of both pieces by cutting 3-inches into fleece at 1-inch intervals
  • keep both sides of pillows by securing with a clothespin
  • for younger children, place 2 clothespins on each side to help keep the ties lined up

Directions:

  • give each child or pair of children a pillow form
  • show them how to double knot the ties all around the pillow, leaving a small space open for stuffing
  • stuff the pillow, be sure to get fiberfill in the corners
    TIP: gently pull the fiberfill apart to make the pillow less lumpy
  • add enough stuffing to make the pillow comfortable to rest on
  • finish the ties

*Sweet Dreams is a grassroots movement started in Indianapolis, Indiana to provide children who are sleeping on the floor with a new mattress through a partnership with local schools. Since it’s conception in November 2014, over 125 mattresses have been placed in homes. Sweet Dreams has two corporate sponsorships with Mattress Firm and Sealy. Children at North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis started making pillows to give with each mattress and the effort has expanded to include three other United Methodist churches in Indiana. If your church would like to donate pillows to this project, you can ship them to the address below. Together we can ensure that every child has sweet dreams!

Sweet Dreams
c/o North United Methodist Church
3808 N Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208

Diapers of Cheer

Diaper Cheer

He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me—God who sent me.” Mark 9:36-37, The Message

Serve: new parents and babies

Connect: it’s a dirty job to change diapers but it is one way parents care for babies who aren’t able to use the toilet; help children see that even the dirtiest job (no one likes poop!) can be an act of love

Materials:

  • size 1 diapers
  • sharpie markers (NO washable markers)

Directions

  • give each child several diapers and sharpie markers
  • encourage children to think about happy or funny images to draw on the diapers
  • allow children to write include “clean” with the punchline on the back

Go Further: have children host a diaper and wipes drive to supply a local food pantry or shelter with these needed supplies

Mailable Hug

Mailable Hug

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. John 3:16

Serve: members of the congregation who may be homebound or have lost a spouse since last Valentine’s Day

Connect: age children will easily connect with the giving of Valentines and how they feel when they receive a hug from a loving caregiver; challenge kids to think about people who may feel lonely or sad receiving a “mailable hug” to wrap around them and know someone loves them

Materials

  • card stock
  • Poem printed onto 1/2 sheet of card stock (printable):
    I made this great big hug just for you,
    To share God’s love, it’s true.
    Wrap it around you, all snug and tight,
    Hold it with all your might!
    For Valentine’s Day and all the year,
    God loves you – that’s reason to cheer!
    John 3:16
  • envelopes
  • yarn
  • jumbo ink pads
  • white heavy paper
  • hand washing supplies
  • markers
  • clear tape
  • scissors
  • mailing labels for recipients

Directions

  • have a child hold one end of the yarn while it is stretch across to the other hand, cut
  • use jumbo ink pads to make one set of hand prints per child
  • wash hands
  • cut out the handprints, no need to cut around fingers
  • use clear tape to secure each end of the yarn to one of the handprints
  • give each child a card and have them write their first name
  • put the card and mailable hug into an envelope
  • seal the envelope
  • attach one of the mailing labels
Posted in Uncategorized

Bagged Up With Love

Brown Bags

If you open your heart to the hungry, and provide abundantly for those who are afflicted, your light will shine in the darkness… Isaiah 58:10

Serve: neighbors who seek assistance at a local food pantry

Connect: help children understand that not everyone has a fridge full of food and some people go without food because they do not have enough money to buy food; a small way children can help is by extending loving encouragement to those in need

Take the Next Step: challenge kids to bring in nonperishable food items to send with the decorated bags to further support the work of a local food pantry

Materials

  • brown paper grocery bags, donated if possible (available online)
  • markers, crayons, stickers, etc.
  • message:
    This sack is filled with food for you,
    Decorated with love and cheer, too.
    Know you are loved and receive this care,
    So God’s love will be felt everywhere!
  • labels (optional)

Directions

  • print the message onto labels (optional)
  • give each child a brown paper grocery bag
  • ask children to write (or attach a label) the message on the top of the bag
  • give children time to creatively decorate the bag using a variety of materials
  • if close to a holiday, challenge kids to decorate the holiday theme