Happy Food Shelf Friday everyone! Tonight we had a lovely ladies’ holiday event at my church, and my husband and son helped themselves to leftovers. So we didn’t have a typical FSF meal this week, but we did add a box of cereal and two cans of veggies to our stash of things to drop off at the food shelf. With the boys eating leftovers tonight we spent virtually nothing on dinner, so that’s a bonus. You know the old WWII adage: use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. Eating leftovers is a great way to “use it up”
This week I have compiled a list for you of 30 ways that you can bless others – “not-so-random acts of kindness”
1. Bake for friends, coworkers, your church staff, the teachers at your kids’s school, neighbors, etc.
2. Make blessing bags for the homeless – I promise a blog post on this idea soon, but the basic idea is bags with a variety of healthy, useful items like a toothbrush, healthy snacks, soap, etc. that you keep in your car and when you see someone in need, you have a bag ready to hand out that will hopefully make their day brighter by meeting some needs. If you’re interested in this before I get a blog post together, there are lots of pins about it on Pinterest.
3. Leave a couple dollars in a library book about financial management, paying off debt, etc. Add a kind note about how financial responsibility is a worthy endeavor and suggesting that your surprise cash is for a treat.
4. Pay for the car behind you at the drivethru. This happened to me once, totally made my day.
5. During the holidays, participate in Operation Christmas Child and make up a shoebox of gifts to bless a kid in another part of the world.
6. Sponsor a child through Compassion International. If you already do this…
7. Write to your sponsored child. Send him or her some stickers, coloring pages, or something. Again, there are whole Pinterest boards dedicated to Compassion letters.
9. Attend a church work day or ask your pastor what you can do to help out.
10. Rake, mow, or shovel for someone else. This is especially appreciated by the elderly and physically disabled.
11. Host a food drive. This can be as simple as putting a collection box in your office and sending out an email to your coworkers, or you could plan a bigger event at your church or other organization.
12. Host a school supplies drive in the fall. When I was a kid I really, really wanted the BIG box of name brand crayons with the sharpener in the back, but that just wasn’t necessary enough to make the budget. We often used last year’s tattered supplies until they absolutely had to be replaced. Today I honestly revel in back to school shopping. I love to think about the kids making do with broken old crayons and half used notebooks who can have fresh, new, name-brand supplies because I spent a little extra. This is another topic I’ll explore more fully in another post, so check back this fall!
13. Host a diaper drive. Thought I’d leave all the “drives” together on the list. Did you know that diapers and baby wipes are not covered by EBT (food stamps)? This shocked me. Families in need often have to make expensive diapers go as far as possible, which means little ones sit in wet diapers too long and are more likely to get diaper rash. There is an organization here in Minnesota that gathers and distributes diapers to help alleviate that. It’s called The Diaper Drive.
14. Rescue a pet. I know, I know. That’s a BIG decision and a BIG commitment. What I’m really suggesting is that if you’re thinking about a pet, consider adoption.
15. Volunteer at the local animal shelter. Some shelters use volunteers to walk, feed, or play with the pets. They also accept donations of pet food, cat litter, and treats.
16. Invite someone over for dinner. You’re eating anyway, you might as well enjoy some good company too!
17. Make “Birthday Bags” for a local food shelf. This is also a project that will someday have its own post (what is that, four now?). Birthday bags are simply bags that contain a cake mix, frosting, candles, and maybe birthday plates or party gifts. For families barely scraping by and depending on the food shelf just to put dinner on the table, birthdays are heartbreaking. These people love their children, and a birthday bag lets them treat their kid’s birthday like the special occasion that it is while sparing them the additional financial stress.
18. Leave quarters in a gumball machine. Isn’t that a fun idea? I found that online and I just loved it. I can only imagine my son’s reaction to getting the coveted gumball without having to wear me down.
19. Send a random letter, email, or flowers to someone you love. Who doesn’t like getting real mail, flowers, or just words of encouragement.
20. Write a letter to soldiers serving overseas. Or missionaries serving overseas. Or anyone who is far from home and family.
21. Pick up litter. While you’re walking that rescue pet, take a bag and a glove along (you’ll probably need it for the dog anyway, but we won’t go into that…) and grab litter you see on the streets and yards.
22. Give away garden produce or homemade goodies. Every summer my son and I go berry picking and spend a whole day together making and canning jam. He doesn’t eat the stuff, and neither does my husband. I keep a few jars to get me through the year and give away the rest. People LOVE homemade preserves, bread, garden produce, etc. but sometimes don’t have the space or ability to make/grow their own. I just ask my friends to give back the empty jars so I can keep giving away jam every year.
23. Tip BIG – service jobs are tough. Especially when it’s busy and everyone wants your attention, and when it’s slow and you don’t make any money. 15-20% is standard, but once in a while it’s fun to go above and beyond and really bless someone who does a good job and works hard!
24. Feed a parking meter that’s about to expire. Sometimes we all need a few extra minutes grace…
25. Donate blood or blood plasma.
26. Hold the door, pull out a chair, say please and thank you with sincerity.
27. Go Christmas caroling.
28. Visit nursing home residents.
29. Read to a child or help an older kid study.
30. Pray, pray, pray – It seems like a small thing, but it moves mountains!
There are lots more, I’m sure! I made a “Random Acts of Kindness” board on the FSF Pinterest page. Click HERE to check them out! Add your favorite in the comments!