Hopefully you've heard all the buzz about Give & Go (Summer Edition), with dozens of great chances to serve this summer.
For years now, Watermark people have been making a dent in the issue of hunger, especially for our neighbors here in North Texas. The Give & Go Hunger Track continues that charge, with several service opportunities at the Hunger track page. Plus you'll find spectacular resources and experiences for equipping yourself, your community group, or your family!
To whet your whistle, here are a couple of great examples:
Care Kits for the Homeless
Watermark members regularly ask us how they can care for the homeless and hurting of Dallas - in ways that help them rather than harming them. While we've blogged and provided a seminar with a fuller answer, a great way to begin is by creating Homeless Care Kits. Our External Focus Director, Jeff Ward, has written a 2-page resource for creating these kits. It begins,
On any given night, there are about 6,000 homeless men and women on the streets of Dallas alone – and that’s only a portion of the number in the DFW Metroplex. Caring for these people (and teaching our kids to do the same) requires wisdom, love, and courage.
We always want to stress the importance of trying to connect with and build relationships with our homeless friends. Most are glad to share their story, whether they have faith, how they ended up on the streets, and what their struggles are. If you get the chance to talk, it’s important to ask and use their name, make eye contact, share your story of grace / share the gospel, and treat them as image-bearers of God.
However, the reality is that we’re not always in situations where we can offer to buy someone a cup of coffee or have a full conversation. And even if we do, it’s still helpful to have some tangible things to leave with them. For several years now, I’ve kept Care Kits in the glove box of my car. Below, you can see what I put in mine as you work to build your own!
I tend to put together 10 of these kits at a time, and place them in our cars. You might put them together with your community group or family as well. And as you hand these out, be sure to tell people that God loves them, and that this gift is a small demonstration of that love.
Family Discipleship Guide: Hunger
Our Family Discipleship Guide around the issue of hunger includes everything from a "learn the terms" journey (Do YOU know what a "food desert" is?), to a cartoon about childhood hunger, to a "Scripture Scavenger Hunt."
The guide also provides tips for a grocery store visit with your kids, as you buy food to donate:
Before grocery shopping, think through these things as a family:
Healthy vs Cheap: Talk with your kids about healthy food versus unhealthy food. Ask them: Is it better to buy food that will help someone feel full for a little while, or food that will fill them up AND help them be healthy long-term? (You might also compare costs with your children, and help them see how hard it is for people to afford healthier foods.)
Nutrition: Look at the list of the foods highest in nutritional value (from the North Texas Food Bank): Soup, Stew or Chili (Low-Sodium), Canned Vegetables (Low-Sodium), Beans (Canned or Dried), Canned Tuna or Chicken, Fruit (Canned in Juice or Dried),Peanut or Almond Butter, Reduced Sugar Pudding Cups, 100% Real Fruit Rolls, Whole Grain Crackers, Granola Bars, Lightly Salted Trail Mix, and Brown Rice. Talk with your kids about what makes these food products better than other foods.
Helping vs. Feeling Good: Pray as a family about serving people in ways that truly help, not just in ways that make us feel good. Discuss the difference. While at the store:
- Let your kids take part in finding foods! As each person picks food, discuss why it makes a good selection.
- As you buy each can or package, have your kids imagine how the person eating it will feel. (Take every opportunity you can to reinforce that real people who live near them will eat this food!)
- When you bring your cans to the food bank, let your kids help! Encourage them to tell the staff or volunteers what they're bringing - and why!
Beyond these resources, you'll find an online Poverty game, the "Food Stamp Challenge," and much more at the Give & Go Hunger track. How will YOU get engaged in the issue of Hunger - or in one of the other tracks this summer? Find your opportunities at watermark.org/go.