In Cleveland, people tend to hibernate during the winter. Every year there’s one spring day where that “bright orb in the sky” reappears and myself and all the neighbors wander outside, stretching and yawning. We greet each other like long lost friends and ask how the last few months have been. But, as it continues to warm up, people want to spend more and more time outside and become active. That means it’s a great time for your group to be active too.
Spring and summer are excellent times to encourage your group to serve. (If your group doesn’t meet over the summer- grab a few people, choose one of the options mentioned below, and try serving) . So, I’d like to share 7 ideas to help you or your group serve over the summer. (If your church has “Missional Communities”, maybe this list can help you brainstorm a people group you’d like to become “one of”.)
Places You Can Serve Over the Summer
1. City Park/Garden. At any point you can call your local City Service Department and ask if your group could clean up the local park. They might even provide you with bags and tools to pick up trash. This can be especially fun and helpful for a group to walk a river/stream during hotter days picking up trash. More and more cities are developing public gardens. They always appreciate groups willing to help weed or do whatever needs to be done in the local garden. e.g. South Euclid Service Department, Cleveland Metroparks Requirements: very low
2. City Calendar- ask to help out. Find your local city’s City Calendar. Find out if there are any events coming up that your group could serve with. (You could try calling the director of the community center for the city.) You could ask to help set up/tear down. You could ask to paint faces. (very easy). You could volunteer to greet people as they enter, or just ask if they need help in any way. Serving the city in places that matter to them is a great way to build favor for the church in the local community. e.g. city calendar Requirements: low
3. Help the Elderly in Need. There’s a good chance there’s a local non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of the elderly in your area. Your group could volunteer to clean up a person’s lawn- which is an easy and rewarding task for any group. (Be sure to tell the volunteer coordinator: 1. The # of people in your group. 2. How long you have to work. 3. Your skill level. This will help them find you appropriate work. They might have events at your local community center for the elderly where your group could go and serve. e.g. Community Partnership on Aging Requirements: low
4. Homeless Shelter. A local homeless shelter is a great way to serve as a group. Often you can sign up to serve a meal. Some larger organizations might collect clothes your group can organize, or have a home where you can connect with the families. e.g. The City Mission. Lakeside Men’s Shelter Requirements: medium
5. Food Bank. Most larger cities have some sort of organized food bank. Sometimes there are age restrictions for helping there, but in general it’s an easy and fun way for a group to serve together. And they’re always looking for help. e.g. Cleveland Food Bank Requirements: medium
6. Crafts at Children’s Hospital. Your local hospital probably has volunteers who will go room to room with a craft card for children. Some hospitals will require a representative from the group to come in for a class/orientation before allowing you to interact with patients. They might also need you to have a background check. So, this is an amazing and extremely helpful project, but it will take some effort. e.g. hospital volunteer opportunities Requirements: high
7. Google Opportunities. Sometimes you just need to “google” places to help. Check out the links below that try to list local places for you to serve.
allforgood.org click here
volunteermatch.org click here
volunteennation.org click here
volunteers of America (veterans) click here
Ideas for serving click here
To get a few more ideas, check out this link: 3 Ways to Make a Memorable Group click here