The Holiday season always brings up a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and serve others. As moms, this is the opportune time to take advantage of the spirit of the season and encourage our children to look for opportunities to start serving and then continue this conversation throughout the year.
In order to aide you in your search of where to start to serve, I asked some of the other contributors their thoughts and we’ve come up with some great volunteer and service ideas.
Things to think about when serving:
- Lead by example. We all know that children watch what we do and listen to what we say, so if we start to use lingo that encourages looking for opportunities to serve, then our children’s eyes will open and they really will start looking.
- Find a service project that meets you or your children’s interests, especially for the first time serving. You want them to enjoy and learn about serving and then you can branch out into other areas and services projects to expand their horizons.
- Before you go, set expectations for how they should act and what you will be doing. If you don’t know exactly how you will be volunteering or where they might place you, then let them know this might be a lesson in flexibility.
- There may be age limits to certain places so be sure to call ahead and make sure what ages are allowed to come.
25 Ways to Serve and Volunteer in OKC:
1. Make snack bags to hand out to the homeless or people on street corners.
Anna wrote a great post about this called a Play Date with a Purpose.
2. Sticking with the above theme, do a drive by blessing.
Ask the person on the street corner his/her name and what they need. Whatever they say, go and purchase it for them and return it to them with their name and a blessing or prayer attached to it. It’s amazing what people will say and you can find many ways to bless people in small ways. It may be gas, diapers, or just food. Some may say a place to stay for the night and so if you are able and so choose, you could offer to pay for their motel that night or help get them to a shelter (via bus or taxi if that makes you feel safer).
2. Help build a home for Habitat for Humanity OKC.
This is especially great to do with older children because then they get to feel the accomplishment of helping to provide shelter for another family. Or if you are doing a project around your house, donate some of your still usable and good items to their thrift store.
3. Provide a meal for a Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Meal or Daily meals for a family in need.
There are wonderful places like the Manna Pantry or the Food Bank that will makes sure families get food and a special blessing for holidays. You could find a time to come and help sort and stock food or even go on a scavenger hunt through your neighborhood to collect food that you can donate.
4. The City Rescue Mission’s goal is to serve “the homeless and near homeless with help, hope, and healing, in the spirit of excellence, under the call of Christ.”
You can help serve food, pull order in the warehouse, help with after school tutoring, help in the Women’s shelter, the kid’s movie nights, the career center, etc.
5. Cross & Crown has a goal of “proclaiming the love, hope, and mercy of Jesus through service and prayer.”
Monday – Thursday from 10am – 2pm you may help pass out food boxes, pray with families, help sort donations, etc. They have a thrift store, so you can clean out your closets or house and donate good, usable items that others can use. They even have opportunities to help renovate houses in the area. During the summer, they have a basketball tournament that kids can play in to raise funds for the mission.
6. Lilyfield Christian Adoption and Foster Care Services provides “comprehensive services to women in unplanned pregnancies, couples wishing to grow their families through adoption, and foster families and children.”
You can help with their biannual Pass It On Consignment sales to mentoring for the Gateway program to organizing the resource room to providing support to foster families by preparing meals, helping with chores, running errands or providing lawn care. They host events like golf tournaments, 5Ks and auctions.
7. Citizens Caring for Children is geared to helping children in foster care.
Needs range from sorting clothes, working with kids at events, mentoring children, sorting mail, serving on committees to even shopping for back to school supplies with the kids.
8. Ronald McDonald House provides “a ‘home away from home’ for families with seriously ill or injured children receiving medical treatment in the Oklahoma City area.”
From answering phones, giving tours, cleaning the flower beds, to many others things, there is something available for your smiling face.
9. The Infant Crisis Center “provides life sustaining formula, food and diapers to babies and toddlers in times of crisis…Because no baby should go hungry.”
ICC has opportunities to serve on location, roaming around the city and even from home.
10. CCFI – is a great place to connect and support families and children so they can have a better tomorrow.
They have needs for volunteers to help with their summer programs, their Boys & Girls Clubs, doing administrative work, sorting goods for the Baby Pantry, and helping with special projects.
11. The Mary Abbot House is geared to helping children be able to tell their stories of sexual abuse or severe physical trauma.
You can have your kids choose comforting items like teddy bears, blankets, play dough or washable markers to donate to the house. There is also a great need for child advocates and committee members to plan future events.
12. Food and Shelter provides the most basic needs for men, women and children – food & shelter.
There are a myriad of ways individuals, groups and families may volunteer: preparing and serving food and cleaning the kitchen, helping around the office, and even gardening. Collecting much needed items for winter is also greatly needed.
13. St. Jude’s Research Children’s Hospital – OKC – individual and group opportunities abound. Contact them directly to see how you can serve.
14. Pets & People is for dog and cat lovers alike!
There are so many ways to volunteer for this organization from collecting newspapers that can be used in the animal cages, to playing with the animals in the yard, to helping to clean the animals cages, etc. If you love dogs and cats, this place is for you. They, too, also have a thrift store where items can be donated and the proceeds go to the shelter.
15. The B.E.L.L.A Foundation is dedicated to providing proper veterinary care to every pet even if the owner cannot afford it or if it is abandoned.
This foundation needs help with adoption outreaches, transporting animals and even fostering them.
16. Central Oklahoma Humane Society works to eliminate the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals by finding homes for the homeless.
There are many ways to volunteer within the clinics, at outside functions and even by fostering a pet in your home.
17. Second Chance Animal Sanctuary rescues dogs and cats from other shelters and works to find them a forever home.
Volunteer by walking dogs, socializing cats, cleaning, creating adoption packets, serving customers or helping with office work. You can also help at out reach events or by fostering animals.
18. Mobile Meals’ purpose is to “provide for elderly, handicapped, or convalescing persons unable to prepare their own meals.”
19. Pick a nursing home to visit.
This is truly the perfect place to take little ones. Hand out flowers, sing a song or simply share a smile. Something as small as this can really brighten someone’s day.
20. Get to know an elderly person in your neighborhood.
Sprinkle them with nice deeds like raking leaves, mowing the lawn, baking them a treat, or just becoming friends.
21. Provide a meal for a new mom, a sick friend, or just someone you know who might need a little extra love and support.
22. Speaking of helping new moms…
I’ve personally been on the receiving end of some wonderful treats. I’ve had a friend come before I was due and ask what tasks still needed to be done. Another friend cleaned my kitchen and bathrooms and then let me take a bubble bath and rest. Then many friends and our church family provided meals when we came home from the hospital. Others would come over and watch my other kids so I could get a much needed nap. These were all major blessings and I was so thankful to receive them.
23. Project Linus’ goal is to provide warmth, security and comfort to those who are seriously ill, traumatized or in need.
If you’ve got a child who loves to create, this may be the perfect project. Make blankets and donate them at a drop off site near you.
24. Volunteer at a local NICU.
This opportunity is more for older teens, but the chance to hold and rock babies is a great way to help them on their healing journey.
25. Pick up trash at a nearby park.
Put on some gloves and grab some trash bags and see how much trash you can collect.
There are a ton of ways to serve. These are only the tip of the iceberg.
What are some of your families favorite ways to serve?