Placed with Joy

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You must rise in the presence of an old person and respect the elderly. Leviticus 19:32a

Serve: elder care facilities

Connect: children won’t have a heard time imagining a time they have felt bored, encourage them to think of something that would have made that time more joyful (reading a book, playing a game, drawing a picture, etc.); explain that at many elder care facilities, older adults eat together and often wait quite awhile before being served, which we might imagine can get boring; challenge children to think of how something as simple as a placemat could make waiting more enjoyable — what can they do to turn an ordinary placemat into something an elder may enjoy?

Materials

Directions

  • give each child white placemats to decorate
  • if close to a holiday, challenge kids to decorate the holiday theme

UMCOR Health Kits

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Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2

Serve: refugees and others in desperate need

Connect: the safety of home is something many children can wonderfully take for granted, but not all children experience this blessing; help children connect with the refugees by imagining being made to flee from their homes with only what they can carry to a strange place where they are hungry, tired, and dirty; ask what feelings come to mind (fear, sadness, anger)

UMCOR stands for the United Methodist Commission on Relief. It is the outreach branch of the global United Methodist Church dedicated to alleviating human suffering around the world. UMCOR’s work includes programs and projects in disaster response, health, sustainable agriculture, food security, relief supplies, and more. By supporting UMCOR’s work with refugees, children are joining UMCOR as the hands and feet of Christ serve those in need.

Materials

  • 1 bath hand towel
    no kitchen, cleaning and microfiber towels
  • 1 washcloth
  • 1 comb comb
    needs to be sturdy and longer than 6″
    no pocket combs or picks, please
  • 1 metal nail file or clipper
    no emery boards, please
  • 1 bath-size soap
    3 oz. and larger sizes only
    no Ivory or Jergens soap due to moisture content
    do not remove from original packaging
  • 1 toothbrush
    adult size only
    do not remove from original packaging
  • 6 adhesive bandages
    ¾” to 1″ size
    common household Band-Aids
  • 1 plastic bag one-gallon size sealable bags only
  • $1 donation for toothpaste
    purchased at time of shipping due to expiration

Directions

  • assemble all materials into the one-gallon bag
  • squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag before sealing it closed
  • mail completed kits to:
    UMCOR Sager Brown Depot
    PO Box 850 131 Sager Brown Road
    Baldwin, LA 70514-0850

Welcome Kids *Special Tip for New Appointments*

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When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:13

Serve: children visiting church for the first time

Connect: help children imagine going to a new place filled with strangers and how they may feel, even if the place is a church; invite them to share ideas about welcoming first time visitors to your church; then challenge children to think about a special welcome for other children to help kids feel extra special when they visit

Take the next step: encourage children to serve as greeters to help welcome all guests to church

Materials

  • cello bags with twist ties (available online)
  • stickers
  • sharpened pencils
  • dumdum lollipops
  • thin markers for writing
  • “One Thing” card, 4 per page (printable)

Directions

  • before class, print the “One Thing” card onto heavy paper and cut to create four cards
  • give each child a “One Thing” and a thin marker
  • read children the question “What is one thing about God’s love you want another kid to know?”
  • encourage children to think about things they enjoy at church to help them learn and grow in God’s love
  • ask children to neatly write their answer in the space provided
  • combine the following in a cello bag
    • “One Thing” card from child
    • 4-5 stickers
    • one sharpened pencils
    • one dumdum lollipop
  • close each bag using the provided twist ties

Tip: If your church gives first time visitors welcome materials (like a bag or mug, etc.), then be sure to show those to the kids and explain that every guest receives a welcome gift.

Special Tip: As United Methodist pastors begin new appointments, this is an excellent way to introduce themselves to children. Make one of these simple bags for each child and present it during the children’s sermon or as you visit with children in other settings. After you introduce yourself, explain that you hope to teach them a lot about God’s amazing love and the first thing you want them to know is written no the card inside.

Simple Bird Feeder

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Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Matthew 6:26

Serve: birds (and squirrels!)

Connect: most children don’t need too much help to notice the changes spring brings with it’s longer and warmer days, and in many areas of the world, the reappearance of birds after the winter; help children consider ways we can care for birds just as God has cared for all animals by creating a simple bird feeder; challenge children to especially think about ways it may be difficult for birds to find food in more areas where nature has been overrun by urban development

Materials

  • toasted oat cereal
  • pipe cleaners

Directions

  • thread toasted oat cereal onto pipe cleaners, leaving a little space at each end
  • carefully bend the pipe cleaner into the shape of a circle and twist the ends to create the first loop
  • repeat the threading process with a second pipe cleaner
  • connect the shapes by looping them inside one another and twist the ends of the second loop closed
  • repeat until you have a nice chain to hang outside

Santiny Scrub

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Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Let her share in the results of her work; let her deeds praise her in the city gates. Proverbs 31:30-31

Serve: women’s shelter

Connect: whether a mother, grandmother, teacher or family friend, most children can think of at least one woman who has had a positive effect on their lives and the desire to show appreciation for that woman’s work; take the tradition of honoring mothers to a new level by challenging children to honor all women for their work through a simple gift of pampering

Materials

  • sugar
  • dawn hand renewal
  • 4oz plastic cups with lids 
  • instructions printed onto cardstock and cut out
  • bowls
  • plastic knives
  • measuring cup
  • plastic spoons
  • stickers (hearts, stars, smiley faces)
  • ribbon (optional)

Directions

  • give each child a bowl and plastic knife
  • add a 1/4 cup of sugar to the bowl
  • add a tablespoon of dawn hand renewal
  • have kids stir well
  • add a little dawn hand renewal a time until it’s a paste like consistency
  • scoop mixture into 4oz containers and secure lids
  • add stickers to decorate
  • secure the containers with ribbon (optional)

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

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