At a conference I attended lately, some members of the audience were discussing how difficult it often is to find serving opportunities for young children. Many ministries have an age requirement for volunteering, and even when they don't make it official, little ones are often limited in the ways they can really be helpful.
One lady had an idea that I just loved. She said that she and her children put together plastic baggies full of non-perishable food and first aid supplies to give to the homeless people who solicit for money at the street corners. She just keeps a stash of the bags ready in her car and gives them when the opportunities present themselves.
Three things I love about this suggestion:
1. Here in Austin, just about every busy intersection has someone asking for money; so my children are very familiar with the need. Sometimes I've kind of cringed at the way we just keep driving when M looks sadly at the men and says, "They don't have very much money or food to eat." To her, it is very simple; I've wondered if not sharing in those situations plants little seeds of callousness.
2. You can make it as simple or involved as you want it. You can buy pocket versions of The Gospel of John for as low as 30 cents each to include in each bag or they could be as simple as a stick of beef jerky and a pack of gum. It's also great because you can fit the preparation into times that work well for your family.
3. Putting together the bags is something anyone can do- toddlers to adults! Family assembly lines are fun!
What other opportunities to serve have you discovered for your little ones?