As I write this article, my young neighbors are running, dancing, biking, and scooting their way home from their last half-day of school for the year. Though the official first day of summer is June 21, I’m fairly certain there’s nothing I could say to convince them that it doesn’t start today!
While the school year winds down, youth, family, and children’s education staff and volunteers at churches across the country are kicking into high gear for Vacation Bible School. Congregations are taking many different approaches to this time of education, fellowship, and fun – from a traditional week of day camp for young children to intergenerational evening sessions, folks of all ages will gather together to deepen their faith, get to know one another better, and, in many cases, reach out beyond themselves in service.
In fact, if you or others at your congregation are looking for meaningful projects to tie in to your summer activities, there’s still time to coordinate to make Kits of Care! Here are some tips for preparing your service component:
- Order one of LWR’s FREE kit-focused resources to help frame your project.
- Servant of All: A Year of Kits with LWR – celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with a service project! This resource includes instructions, Bible studies, games, and a Reformation connection for each of Personal Care, School, and Baby Care Kits. Great for all ages!
- Personal Care Kit Leader Guide – Additional tools, games, Bible studies, and resources specific to Personal Care Kits. Best for middle school and up.
- School Kits Youth Leader Guide – These kits are perfect for summertime, when school supplies are deeply discounted. This guide includes activities, Bible studies, and resources for School Kit assemblies. Best for middle school and up.
- Consider sourcing your supplies in bulk. You can save money and ensure that you have the right number of each item so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute for an extra 10 pairs of nail clippers or boxes of crayons. While a Google search will help you find what you need, here are a few sites we’ve used in the past and had good experiences with:
- All Together Diaper – a good source for Baby Care Kits items, All Together Diaper has a special humanitarian and charitable projects section and discounts.
- Overstock.com – one of the best sources of sturdy combs we’ve ever found.
- The Charity Source – a good source for Personal Care Kit items like toothbrushes and clippers. Make sure you order in plenty of time, as sometimes shipping takes a while.
- Bath Linens for Less – towels in all colors in the perfect size and weight! Look for 20” x 40” Prism Bath Towels. You can order by the dozen.
- Discount School Supply – though summer sales are often hard-to-beat, this is a one-stop shop for most of your School Kit needs.
- Drawstring backpacks – you can get great quality bags AND know that your purchase is helping the craftspeople who make them through Fair Trade. Bags are available from SERRV and Motif. Call first to make sure the bags are available in your time frame.
- Involve the whole congregation! If you have time, ask members of your congregation to support your project through donations of supplies or money to purchase supplies, or to support the Quilt & Kit Shipping Fund. Invite everyone to join your Vacation Bible School group for a special evening or Saturday kit assembly time.
Kit service projects are a wonderful way to bring our global community to life. Track your kits to their destination, and you have a built-in reason to follow-up with your VBS participants and congregation and a way to learn more about our sisters and brothers around the world.
Is your congregation planning a service project this summer? Tell us about it! Email your story and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your partnership in this ministry!