The Shoebox Project – Teaching Children to Serve

“What is it to serve God and do His will? Nothing else than to show mercy to our neighbor. For it is our own neighbor who needs our service; God in heaven needs it not.” – Martin Luther

I earnestly desire for my son to understand the importance of service and want to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our Lord God. Just as Jesus came NOT to be served, but to serve – we as believers are called to serve others around us in order to reflect the Kingdom of Christ.

The best way to teach someone how to serve is, of course, TO SERVE! No amount of talking about the importance of service can replace the act of physically serving others. Sometimes, however, it’s difficult to find service opportunities in which you can involve a 3 year old.

As such, I was so excited to learn about The Shoebox Project from United Way. Now through May 1, United Way of the greater Atlanta area is collecting shoeboxes for homeless women and children that will be distributed on Mother’s Day this year:

Shoebox – United Way of Greater Atlanta

From what I can tell, various chapters of United Way across the country host these “shoebox projects” throughout the year. If you do not live in the greater Atlanta area, you can check and see if your local United Way has will have a Shoebox project this year (for instance, I think there is one held in the greater DC area in June, etc.)

Yesterday, Shaan and two of his friends had a “Shoebox party.” We went to Dollar Tree and purchased children’s items from the “needed” list on the United Way website (toys, books, toothbrushes and toothpaste, crayons, etc):

Then, we filled up our shoeboxes with items for the homeless children. We finished the boxes by wrapping them in white tissue paper and allowing the children to decorate them with stickers, glitter glue, etc. Here are the finished products:

Participating in this project was great as it allowed us to have meaningful conversations about how other children do not have as much as we do, and how we are called by our Lord to serve the less fortunate. Shaan asked some great questions about why children would be homeless and we discussed different scenarios which could lead to homelessness (i.e. loss of a job by a parent, house fire, sickness of a caregiver and inability to work, etc.) Plus, let me just tell you what a great teaching opportunity it is to drag a 3 year old through a story and buy items for OTHER children!

I really enjoyed finding a service opportunity in which I could engage my 3 year old. I encourage you to check and see if there is a similar opportunity offered in your area.

Enough for now – time for us to head to United Way and drop off our shoeboxes before the storms roll in later today. Have a great Thursday everyone!

Posted in Service

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