It's almost the Christmas season and that means a lot of families in the church are going to want ideas on how to serve others! Here are some programs and ideas to consider:
Operation Christmas Child (NOTE: This one has a due date of November 21, 2022): Fill a shoebox with toys, school supplies, and other items to be gifted to a child around the world. For many kids, this might be the only Christmas present they've ever received. For more information, visit: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/
Angel Tree (Salvation Army): Each year, the Salvation Army puts up trees in local businesses that are adorned with tags associated with children in the local area. The tags feature the child's name and age, and a small list of gifts they would like to receive. To participate, take a tag, purchase the gifts, and return them to a drop-off location. The child's family will be able to pick up the gifts and make their child's holiday extra special. These children come from families who are struggling financially. For more information, visit: https://saangeltree.org/
Angel Tree (Prison Fellowship): This Angel Tree program is for children who have a parent in prison. Their parent in prison signs them up for the program. Angel Tree then reaches out to the child's caregiver for more information, and relays info about the child's age and interests to volunteers. Volunteers then purchase gifts and deliver them to the families. The parent in jail also gets to include a note to their child, making this an extra special Christmas gift. For more information, visit: https://www.prisonfellowship.org/about/angel-tree/angel-tree-christmas/
Toys for Tots: The Marines host a toy drive each year to provide gifts for children in need in many communities around the U.S. Simply purchase gifts and drop them off at any toy collection center in your neighborhood. A Marine will then collect the gifts and coordinate with local organizations to give these gifts to children in the community. For more information, visit: https://www.toysfortots.org/
Food for the Hungry: This organization is primarily known for their child sponsorship efforts (which is a great, long-term project for your ministry). However, for a short-term project, consider giving a gift through FFTH. You can purchase gifts like livestock, medicine, seeds, Bibles, and more to be gifted to families in need around the world. These gifts can be life-changing for families. For more information, visit: https://www.fh.org/gift-catalog/
Trees for Troops: If you live in or near Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Wisconsin, or Illinois, you can go to a participating outlet and purchase a Christmas tree to be delivered to a military family. If you would like to participate but don't live near one of those states, you can raise money and donate it online. These trees are sent to families at bases both in the U.S. and around the world. For more information, visit: https://christmasspiritfoundation.com/
USPS Operation Santa: The US Postal Service takes letters mailed to Santa, posts them online, and allows people to "adopt" a family for Christmas. Using the letters mailed to Santa, you can purchase gifts for the family and have them mailed to that family's home. For more information, visit: https://www.uspsoperationsanta.com/
Local Food Bank: Gather your class or church together and set a goal to raise food for your local food bank. Set up a donation box in your church somewhere, announce a deadline for giving, and have a coordinator deliver the items to the food bank at the end of your event. This will provide for families who may not have the means to make a special meal for the holidays.
Local Retirement Home or Assisted Living Facility: Coordinate with a local organization to provide gifts to local seniors who may be spending Christmas alone.
Local Homeless Shelter or Rehab Program: Coordinate with a local organization to provide clothing, hygiene items, and gifts for people who are experiencing homelessness or overcoming addiction.
Local Animal Shelter: Provide Christmas gifts of food, blankets, and toys to your local pet shelter. Contact the shelter to get a list of their biggest needs, and present this list to the people participating in your event.
*Go Ye Kids is not affiliated with any of these organizations, nor do we receive any kind of compensation for recommending them.