Tag Archives: kids

Hunger Heroes: Helping Kids Serve their City

I am so sorry that this is late. I wrote it on Thursday then completely forgot to post it on Friday. Better late than never! -K


When J was little, he was a big fan of Spiderman and other superheroes. My boy may be big now (16! We’re looking at colleges! Yikes!), but this week I got him to go with me to the Lego Batman Movie. It was fun to relive that part of his childhood together, and we got a kick out of the little kids in the theater and their running commentary during the show!  Kids love superheroes – the costumes and capes, the gadgets and automobiles, the super powers – what’s not to love!?! If your kids are superhero nuts, it can be a great tool to teach them about serving others and how they can be a “hunger hero” in your community.

  1. Superheroes are all about the serve: Ask your kids why Batman protects Gotham City, or why Superman watches over Metropolis. They’ll tell you that their heroes just want to help people. We all have the power to do good and help others – even without a cape. Have your kids brainstorm about ways they can be a hero in their community.
    Random acts of kindness
    – Sharing with friends
    – Picking up litter
    – Helping friends and neighbors
    – Helping out around the house
    – Serving at community events
    – Much more!
  2. Superheroes have the tools: From supernatural powers to high tech gadgets, superheroes are equipped with the tools they need to do the job! Talk to your kids about what tools you need to serve your community. Maybe it’s carrying a bag on your next trip to the park so you have a way to collect litter. Maybe it’s preparing blessing bags, or printing out the food shelf scavenger hunt sheet before your next shopping trip. Being prepared creates awareness of the needs around us and empowers us to help when opportunities arise.

    A few years ago J and I created blessing bags, and while they were great if I was in my car, they didn’t do me much good when I was walking down the street. So I started carrying Subway gift cards in my wallet so I would always have something to offer a stranger who approached me for help. Instead of fumbling around digging for a few bucks in cash (which I probably don’t have on hand), I pop out a card and hand it over. I picked Subway because they’re EVERYWHERE, they don’t serve alcohol, and their food is filling and nutritious. And gift cards take up very little room in my wallet or phone case, so I can always have them on hand.

  3. Superheroes protect their secret identity: The mask and secret identity are standard practice for comic book heroes. The supers are not about praise or fame, but prefer to remain a mystery, popping in to save the day then retiring to a private life. Believe it or not, this is actually biblical! Matthew 6:2 says, “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” The Bible commands us over and over to help those in need, but we’re not to make it a show. It’s not about us, it’s about making life better for someone else, and showing them the love of Jesus through our actions. Talk about this with your kids. You can even reinforce this lesson by letting your little heroes wear their masks when dropping off food shelf donations or helping around the house.


I hope this gives you some fun ways that you can talk to your kids about being a “hunger hero” and serving their community just like their favorite masked men and women!  If you have additional thoughts, feel free to leave a comment!

Four Benefits of Volunteering as a Family

Tomorrow, Saturday October 22, is national Make a Difference Day! Sponsored by Tegna, The Arby’s Foundation, and Points of Light, Make a Difference Day encourages Americans of all ages to find a way to serve their community. They provide a project finder to connect volunteers with needs, and awards to honor people and projects that are making a difference. To find projects near you, visit their website.

Why is practicing regular volunteer work as a family important?

1. Volunteering encourages gratitude and a realistic view of wants vs. needs: All the moms said “amen,” right? It’s hard to teach gratitude to our kids. But “you should be thankful,” and “when I was your age,” don’t speak as loudly as hands-on, face-to-face experience.

2. Volunteering teaches us that we’re not so different after all: Living a sheltered life makes it easy to think that real hunger doesn’t happen in America, or that all poverty is the result of bad personal decisions. But working with people in need, right in our own community, reveals the reality that most people in need are hard-working and want opportunity, not a handout. They have the same hopes, dreams, and concerns for their kids that we all do. You might make some new friends, too.

3. Volunteering makes us sensitive to the needs of others: Kids don’t understand why the elderly and infirm are slow. They don’t get it that others can’t afford to have the things that they have or go to the things they can go to. Volunteering is a great opportunity to talk about how much we have to be thankful for, as well as ways that we can be sensitive, considerate, and make life easier for others.

4. Regular volunteering from a young age teaches kids that this is just what we do: It’s just like dressing up for church. Someone warned me about this when J was a baby, and we stuck with it. Every Sunday we dressed him up for church, and he didn’t question it until he was practically a teenager (and by then no one under 60 was dressing up at church…). At the same time, I had friends tell me that if they tried to “make” their kids get dressed up they would have a mutiny on their hands. J didn’t argue because that was the normal he knew. The same is true of community service. Start the kids as young as you can and they will understand that this is just what we do as Christians and members of our community.

Actions speak louder than words. Model a life of service and include the kids as much as possible. If you’re looking for ideas, search this site for “service projects.” I’ve written blog posts about a number of possibilities. If you have ideas about service projects that families can do together, leave a comment. We’re always looking for more ideas!

Family Service Project: Food Shelf Scavenger Hunt

Food Shelf Scavenger HuntMy favorite co-server in life is my son, J (his real name is Jacob, but I call him J because he doesn’t like “Jake.” Yes, I am so lazy that I reduced his name to one letter). He’s fifteen years old, and is smart, funny, and a good worker. Though much of his service experience has come during his years as a Boy Scout, he really got his start in our local MOMS Club chapter when he was just a preschooler. We started ‘em young in that group; the kids participated in a lot of tours, supply drives, and service projects. An amazing thing happens when you bring your young kids to service opportunities; they never have to learn to serve. It just comes naturally because it has always been their reality.

Yesterday, J and I volunteered with Compassion International finding sponsors for kids

But serving alongside a fifteen-year-old is a lot easier than working with a preschooler was! When the kids are young, they need simpler tasks, patient parents, and a lot of information on WHY we’re doing what we’re doing. With that in mind, I have created a Food Drive Scavenger Hunt that you can use to teach your kids, grandkids, or nieces and nephews about helping the hungry. It’s in a printable form right on this page, and I invite you to print and share as much as you like.

The printable lists five of the top needed food shelf staples, gives information about why they matter nutritionally, and educates on specifics to look for, like low sodium and whole-grains. I believe the whole scavenger hunt can be done for under $10 (depending on the choices you allow). Several kids can work together, or each kid can do his or her own list – that’s up to you and your budget. The scavenger hunt could work for kids as young as three if you do the reading, but would be informative and entertaining for kids as old as 12. It teaches best practices while still allowing kids to make choices. You can use the scavenger hunt to distract and entertain the kids during your regular grocery shopping, or you can make a special trip that ends with drop off at the food shelf.

I strongly encourage you to find ways that your young kids can serve their community. I know it can be a challenge for parents, but it’s a lot easier to introduce service when they’re young and want to help than it is when they’re older and would rather watch TV!

What ways have you found to include your children in community service? Share in the comments, and keep an eye out for more family-friendly service opportunities in the future!

Kids food drive scavenger hunt


Kids food drive scavenger hunt


Preview image is a .jpeg; follow the hyperlink above for the .pdf version to print. Feel free to share!