My mom got an email when summer started, and through this, I got a great opportunity to go to a girls’ group called Project Serve. I had to pray about it. God was telling me yes, so I told my mom yes, I would go. The group was led by our choir director. In Project Serve, we planned out our service projects. This was one of the 3 projects that will happen. And here’s an inside glance on WHY we were there….
Introduction + Captions by: Melody (10)
Final Thoughts + Photos by: Joyce (Mom)
Why We Were There
First, we had to decide on an idea, then we decided on what to do, where to do it, and when. My partner and I decided that we would be making care packages for the homeless. It happened at my church last Sunday at Chance of Showers. There are regular volunteers who serve by helping with check-in, monitoring the showers, making meals, and prepping clothes, but they were short on people coming to sort and prepare care packages.
What We Did
Everybody had a little to contribute. We all were assigned parts at the beginning, but it turned out there was a lot at the church, too, so we got a lot of things from there. We filled four entire tables with care package items.
How Many Care Packages Did We Put Together?
At first, we were thinking 24 (the number of water bottles in the case we bought) but they told us there is an average of 48 people who come to Chance of Showers every 2nd and 4th Sunday afternoon. So the grand total (we counted multiple times) was 48 CARE PACKAGES!
Making a Difference
We waited for a long time after we finished the bags because we didn’t know what to do. Luckily, we saw some people going into the showers…and they told us they were ready for us afterward since they were eating!
Handing them out was the hardest part. I was so nervous and didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know who was homeless and who wasn’t*. Fortunately, the Chance of Showers coordinator came over and introduced us to everybody. Then we handed them out as we went. Some people refused us, turned us down…but a lot accepted. Some person even took two for their family! But one thing that really made me sad was when one guy came back and asked if he could trade his bag. We told him yes, of course he could, because, actually, every bag was different, somehow. So he ended up taking two instead of one. Wherever he is now, I wish him good health and I hope he doing great.
After we handed out the bags, the coordinator of the event was so grateful. He prayed with us for the homeless.
I was so glad to help them and it gave me a great feeling (even though I was hot).
You can help others in small ways too. Just think of the small ways you can help your community. It only takes one step…and one opportunity.
Thoughts from Melody’s Mom
*I remember having the same thought as Melody when our youth group served meals to the homeless in San Francisco. As we have been learning at our church, the population of homeless people is growing and they don’t always look like you see in the movies. Sometimes they are people who work regular jobs but unable to afford a place to live. This is not uncommon in the San Francisco Bay Area!
I am thankful for this opportunity from the girls’ choir director to learn and grow and lead in this way. Like I always post on (mostly) my Instagram account, I don’t believe our kiddos are the “future,” they are already doing amazing things! They can still learn from our wisdom and can’t fully “lead” yet, but they are definitely leaders.
Also, another learning point occurred when Emily was counting out items to be packed. Chance of Showers have received lots of donation items for the care packages but they have not been sorted so some of them are not in the best condition. There was a soap box that was fairly messed up and likely just decluttered from someone’s travel supply stash. I reminded her that if it wasn’t something she’d like to receive, we should put it aside and put in something nicer. Just because someone does not live like we do does not mean they are anything less. One neighbor shared a few months ago how our Sunday breakfasts have blessed him, not only because he got some food to eat, but because it was made-to-order like a restaurant.
Another thing to note is that service projects do not always have to take much time. This was our first time doing this so we didn’t know of the time commitment, but if you ever have 30-60 minutes to pack 50 care packages (there were 8 of us – 4 girls, 3 moms, and a leader), I’m sure you will be a welcomed help to this group!
What are some of the service projects you and/or your family have been a part of locally or globally? What was the experience like?
Note: If you are local to us and would like to donate or serve, let us know. Chance of Showers happens every 2nd and 4th Sunday afternoon, and Neighbors in Need (breakfast) happens every Sunday morning before church service. We also have opportunities to serve the kiddos in the community schools with the after-school program and many other ways. I can already think of a dozen groups/organizations in our area who are doing a wonderful work!