I am excited to start off our Kids Doing Ministry Series today with “Care Packages for the Homeless” by Aadel Bussinger of These Temporary Tents.
One of the important attitudes that I try to example for my children is mercy. After Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, he emphasized that our neighbor is not based on where we live, or who we are comfortable with (Luke 10:25-37). A neighbor is anyone is need.
In that same dialogue, Jesus also commands us to be merciful to such people, for our ministry to them is a ministry to Christ himself (Matthew 25:35).
Care Packages For The Homeless
We have lived in several areas where we encounter the homeless almost on a daily basis. Usually we give them some cash, but I also wanted to show my girls how we could meet some of their most basic needs directly – in a very simple way.
We started making care packages filled with soap, snacks, and other essentials back when my oldest was just starting Kindergarten. It quickly became a family ministry and has worked well in each place we have lived.
It’s a great way to get the kids involved, and it is relatively easy. They are involved in the process, and they get to witness compassion first-hand when the care packages are given out.
Over the years our packages have ranged in size and contents. We have used recycled grocery bags, ziploc baggies, and paper lunch sacks to fill. Clear ziploc bags (quart or gallon size) work best because they can see what it is you are giving them.
Here are some items we like to include:
- packs of crackers or cookies
- drink mixes, tea bags
- soap and washcloth
- juice boxes
- pouches or cans of tuna
- toothbrush (travel size for smaller bags) and toothpaste
We like to keep an eye out at our dollar and grocery stores for items that could go in our packs. I like to include some kind of plastic utensil with food items that need it.
Distributing The Bags
We prepare the bags as a family and store them near our door so we can grab some on our way out. I like to keep one or two bags in my car, purse, or stroller so we are prepared when we encounter someone in need.
Here in Seoul, we encounter some of the same people on our regular routes. We make an effort to find out what their individual needs are, and what they like so we can change the care package to suit them.
Sometimes we give out the packages and nothing more. At other times, I might give them some money or a hot meal or a bottle of drinking water bought on our walk. Of course if we know of a need for a larger item, such as clothing, we try to provide that.
Of course, we always wish we could do more for the poor, the hurt, and the needy that we meet. By actively showing love through our homeless care packages, I hope to inspire my children to show mercy to every neighbor.
Do you have a special way you inspire your kids to acts of mercy? Please share your ideas in the comments.
Here are the other posts in the Kids Doing Ministry Series:
- Wordless Book Bracelets (w/free printable)
- Christmas Tree Ornaments (w/free printable)
- Blessing Sacks
- The Sweet Gospel
- Ministry Ideas for Kids
Author Note: Aadel Bussinger blogs about her nomadic, chaotic life at These Temporary Tents. She lives wherever the Army sends her husband and learns alongside her three awesome, unschooled kids (2 girls and a boy). Her greatest adventure though is following her Redeemer by faith.