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
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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