Saturday, March 19, 2011

Giving in a Tough Economy Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about how we can give money or items to those who need it at very little cost to us. You can see it here. By thoughtful decluttering and frugal creativity, we can maximize our ability to give.

I have had a couple of great comments to that article that I would like to share. I'll add them to the original post too, but I wanted to make sure they are viewed. :) (I love blog comments!)

Terri from Hearts in Service said:
"I love your list, Karen! One thing that I've found helpful when I have something I need to donate is to call the local school and see if they know of someone who could benefit from it. They won't give you the name, but will generally pass it on for you. We are moving and needed to get rid of a drum set and electric piano. I contacted the school music director and he has a student or two that could use one."

Laurie from Maine Domestic Diva and Life of a Mom said:
"When Emma got a new back pack this year from one of her grandparents we took her 'old' back pack (she had only had it for 2 years and it was LL Bean) to the school. They keep a stash of back packs, snow pants, etc to give to kids that don't have one. The school nurse was so excited to pass it along to a student who may need it!" 

Those are great ideas!! Thank you!! Keep those ideas coming and I'll keep on posting them!! 

So, yesterday I posted about what we can give. Today I'd like to talk about what we can do for others. I am thinking outside of "church ministries". That's a blog post for another time. But all of these things are ministry if you go ready to share the love of Jesus and ready to be His witness.

When considering what you can do for others, again think about what is in your hand. In other words, what do you do? What do you love to do, what are your hobbies, what do you do well? Then, just do that for someone else! Better yet, find friends that share these skills and add friendship and fellowship to the mix while you multiply your giving potential! And don't forget to include your children!!

Cooking: This is probably the most common giving of time. Most, if not all of us, are cooking daily (I really think all of us are but if I say it I know I'll immediately meet someone who does!). The easiest way to cook for someone is to double whatever you are making for your own family that day.
I've known people to check the newspaper in the obituary or birth section and prepare a meal and deliver it to those they read about. They often include a letter of encouragement and brochure from their church.

Organization or Cleaning:  There are many people (like me...ahem...) who would have a hard time allowing someone to come in and clean or organize but sometimes it can't be avoided (like when someone is very ill or very very overwhelmed) so it can sure be a great blessing!

Gardening: I have been the recipient of this amazing blessing! When I was a young mom, a friend planted two gorgeous flower gardens for me. She knew if was too hard for me to do with little ones. I can't tell you the joy I had every time I looked at those beautiful flowers! We also had a man from our church who used to bring his tractor over every spring and till our veggie bed every year. AMAZING since before that we were hand tilling with a shovel (or my husband was hand tilling!).
Another amazing blessing would be if you started seeds for someone and gave them the seedlings!

Yard Work, Shovelling, Plowing: This speaks for itself!! Especially significant for the elderly or those dealing with illnesses within the family or caring for those with illnesses, single moms or those with heavy burdens.

Knitting or crocheting: There are so many items you could create for people from dishcloths to blankets to hats to mittens to sweaters to dolls!
For some donation ideas: chemo caps to a cancer center, blankets for hospitals (to give away to patients) or homeless shelters, preemie hats for hospitals, warm clothing (hats, mittens, sweaters) for homeless shelters, or all of the above for orphanages or schools. Calling your local town/city hall or schools can aid greatly in finding the needs in your area.

Sewing: Same as above with clothing, quilts, curtains, book bags, grocery bags, pot holders or whatever else you already sew! :)
One dream Rachel and I have had that we haven't done yet and need to do is to make quilts with some solid, blank squares mixed in that we can write inspirational messages on. Rachel dreams of giving these to children dealing with serious illnesses.

Crafting: Teach a crafting class at a nursing home or make up crafts and give them away!

Snuggling babies: We have a hospital in our nearby city that has a nationally recognized pediatric wing. I have been told that people travel great distances to have their children treated there. Someone also told me that many times the parents have to leave to work and the hospital will let people come in and rock the babies as volunteers.
Of course, there is always the opportunity to babysit for free. :)

Playing with kids: So many opportunities here...after school ministries and programs, day clubs, inner city ministries, or children staying long term at a hospital or cancer center.

Reading Aloud: This would be a great service at a nursing home! I knew a woman who would go to a nursing home and ask each resident if they would like her to read the Bible to them. I know because she would read to my husband's great-grandmother.
Of course you could also read to kids at the library for Library hour or in a school, or a homeless shelter.

Homework Help: I imagine this could be done at an "After-School" care program, you could start a group at church or just ask around to your friends, church, or school and help children individually.

I could go on and on and on!! The bottom line is: what do you know how to do?  From washing hair to computer programming to car repair to interior painting to manicures to wrapping presents...anything can be given as a service to another (though I would STILL love to hear ideas in the comments section!!). The possibilities are limitless.

One consideration here is that even if you cannot give money you can save someone money by providing a service they would normally have to pay for. Or many times someone who is struggling just needs to know someone cares and notices them. They need love!

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  ~Acts 1:8

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ " ~Matthew 25:40


  1. I've had a volunteer rock my baby at that hospital....while another volunteer gave me a manicure. Seriously looking back it was a huge blessing because I was trapped in that wing for almost 2 weeks. Another night there were baby rockers there so the mom's could gather together and paint pumpkins to decorate our kids hospital rooms. I look forward to one day being a baby rocker there when my kids are older and I 'need' to hold babies again!

    Something my neighbor does (and I do for her) is if one of us doesn't make it to the bus stop we walk the other child to their home and make sure someone is there. It's a small thing, but so much appreciated!

  2. That's great that your neighbors and you look out for each other! :)

    Rachel wants to volunteer to love on babies too!! I am not sure she is old enough though.


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