One of the things that we want to instill in our children is how to serve. But sometimes learning to serve others can be a bit scary at first. This is a great way to help your children connect with serving without the fear that so often accompanies something new. I call them "Pick-Me-Ups" and they are a fun way for the children in your department to call on those who might be shut-in, ill, or simply in need of a smile and bring them something that will brighten their day.
The way the program works is that for about three Sundays, we set up a table in our foyer at church with three gifts to choose from. Each gift is about $5 in cost to put together. Usually Gift #1 one is a little basket that has a variety of hard candies, Gift #2 is a stack of 2 or 3 puzzle books along with pencils and pens, and Gift #3 varies. This last time, the third contained items for a power outage (Candle, matches, small flashlight, notepad, pens, etc), but a stuffed animal is also a popular gift. Along with the gifts at the table are note cards and envelopes. Then on the designated day (usually the Saturday after the last Sunday of sign ups) the Pick-Me-Ups are delivered by the children.
This is how the process works:
I know that Mrs. Nimoy has been recuperating from a surgery. I take a card and fill it out for Mrs. Nimoy from me. I put Mrs. Nimoy's name on the card and tell the child at the table which gift I want sent to her. The child fills out our Pick-Me-Up Order sheet with the information and writes the gift number on the back of the card in pencil. Then on the specified day, the children will deliver the gift and my card to Mrs. Nimoy..
I have done this in three churches and it is always something both the kids and those that receive the gifts enjoy. We usually split the children into teams of 4 or less (plus preferably two adults per team to go with the children...no deliveries are made by children alone) so that multiple deliveries can be done at the same time. They have a great time delivering the gifts to those on their list and are given the opportunity to visit with people that they may or may not know. It's not a scary way for them to connect with those they deliver to, because they have a reason to be there. Since they are bringing a surprise to the person getting the delivery, the children are excited to give it to them.
Because you are purchasing the gifts and cards, there is a cost involved with this activity, but if you will place a donation jar at the table with the gifts, many people will put a little money in it to cover the cost. Though we do not charge for the Pick-Me-Ups, I have found that people are more willing to send them if they can donate at least part of the cost. We also put a small amount in our budget to offset whatever might not be covered by the donations.
If you are interested in doing this at your church and have questions or would like to see the forms we use for this activity, simply leave a comment with your email and I'll get back with you as quick as I can.
Have a great week everyone!