A continuing theme that I hear from people when they hear our common mantra “everybody can do something” is…you guessed it…”what can I do?”
I love that question! And I know that many think the first thing that comes to mind is donate…well…okay, maybe, but not all the time…often what comes up are ideas that would be so inpactful and anyone can do.
Let me give you an example or two (or a bunch):
WonGeneration is often approached about ways of helping those who are homeless. Now before you instantly begin to think of the person who is standing on an exit ramp asking for donations, let me describe a few others who find themselves homeless. In some cases this is the person who has finished college but doesn’t have a job yet that can cover the cost of living…going home isn’t always an option and ‘couch surfing’ only goes so far. Or a person that has lost their job but grew up in an era when getting government assistance isn’t the option they want to go for! So now in their late 40’s or 50’s, they are having trouble finding work that pays their bills and have lost their houses. They find that shelters are dangerous places and don’t really provide the ‘help’ they need to get their feet under them. So…the way you can help….
Ask people who have old trailers and motorhomes that they don’t use anymore if they would donate or sell very cheap (maybe even carry a contract!). We know of people who will allow them to be placed on property for a time…and that way they have a few months or a year to live, have their own place, and find work or finish school. If they get a job and need to move closer, they can find a place to put the unit. Or they can use a campground or park. In this past year, we have had need of three (3) of these situations that came up that we were not able to meet the need.
Backpacks…backpacks are always in need for those who are homeless. Or ways of carrying their belongings. We are able to distribute these to several groups/organizations/ministries both within WonGeneration and with others that we partner with. The larger ones go for carrying gear/clothing and the smaller ones even work for feeding programs that give food to elementary school kids to eat over the weekends!
Ways of getting these you ask? I am so glad you asked! How about going to garage sales and looking at what might be there…and then asking the owner of the garage sale if these items don’t sell by the end of the sale, would they consider donating them. You’ll be amazed at how many will ask why…you tell them they are for homeless and being distributed…most will just give them to you. But if not, come back at the end of the sale! It works and it is so needed! So how many of you thought that going to a garage sale could be ministry? But it can!
And speaking of garage sales as ministry, shortly we will be able to take on clothing from garage sales. Same sort of discussion with the sale organizer would be appropriate. “Hi, I noticed you have a lot of clothing here. Would you be willing to donate the leftovers if I came back on your last day? It all goes to support a local non-profit that is serving the community. And of course, we can give you a receipt for your donation.” Sounds easy? It is….
Other ways YOU can be helping local community. Sharing what you read amongst your social media friends. Even this blog or the others like it.
When you hear someone is looking for work done around their house/apartment/yard…perhaps there is a way to serve…and that doesn’t mean that you have to be the one who does the work, although if you able that would be great! But there are ways of getting some others to come and help. Either from a local church or a local ministry, a youth group, etc. It has often been said that discipleship is ‘caught not taught’ and thus if we are to share with our neighbors and teach others to serve in the community, then we need locations in which we all can practice what we preach. It is very powerful for a few men of a church to take a few guys from the senior high youth group and go fix up someone’s house/yard/deck. The demonstration of taking care of ‘widows’ can be a truly defining moment in a young persons life. When they see how the project is received…it can melt their hearts and create the foundation of a pattern of serving. And this is open to male and female for sure, I am not wanting to sound sexist, but I want to note that an opportunity exists for men to help fill in the “father gap” that often exists in our culture so sharing a bit of your life while fixing a fence or repairing a deck or a faucet can be really a big deal to a high school male going without an active ‘dad’ in their picture.
I pray at this point that there are ideas spinning in your head of what you can do…we’ll add more during the week but if you have questions, comments, ideas, etc., please share them! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post something to Fb or a private message.
May you be richly blessed as you seek to bless others!