Motivated to make a difference in your community, but stuck trying to figure out where to start? Here are a few ideas:
- Start a Bed Builders Ministry in Your Community
Work with local Children and Family Services and/or counselors at local schools to identify children who are falling behind in school because they do not have a bed and are not getting a good night's sleep. Assemble a small team to cut and build 100 beds from the cut list and build plan below.
This PDF provides a cut list and a plan for building 100 twin size beds (like above)
- Learn about Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in nearly 1,400 communities across the United States and in approximately 70 countries around the world. Habitat’s vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat works toward our vision by building strength, stability and self-reliance in partnership with people and families in need of a decent and affordable home. Families in need of decent, affordable housing apply for homeownership with their local Habitat for Humanity. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage.
Each local Habitat’s family selection committee selects homeowners based on three criteria:
1) The applicant’s level of need.
2) Their willingness to partner with Habitat.
3) Their ability to repay a mortgage through an affordable payment plan.
As part of their willingness to partner, Habitat’s homebuyers invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, called sweat equity, working alongside volunteers and other Habitat homeowners.
Habitat for Humanity follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing Habitat’s homeowners.
Volunteer to help build a home.
- Hold a Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive
and donate the collected goods to a local food pantry. Peanut butter and jelly have great shelf life and there is never enough in stock at food pantries serving families struggling to get by.
- Donate Blood
Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person — the gift of life. Each whole blood donation has the potential to save up to three lives. A decision to donate your blood can save a life, or even several if your blood is separated into its components — red cells, platelets and plasma — which can be used individually for patients with specific conditions. The entire process of donating whole blood only takes about one hour and 15 minutes. You can donate whole blood every 56 days for a total of 6 donations a year.
- Become a Big Brother or Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of AmericaBig Brothers Big Sisters mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Big Brothers Big Sisters helps children realize their potential and build their futures. They nurture children and strengthen communities. Big Brothers Big Sisters operates under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. They make meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country developing positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.
Big Brother Big Sisters of America
- Buy a Homeless Person Lunch and Ask Them Their Story
Ever walk past a homeless person and you don't know what to do so you stare at your feet or look straight ahead trying to avoid eye contact? Try something different and intentional. Ask a homeless person to join you for lunch, buy them a meal, and ask them their story then listen - really listen. You will learn more in 15-30 minutes than you can possibly imagine and some of your preconceived ideas about the homeless might get shattered.
- Invite A Neighbor to Dinner
Changing our world starts and changing our community. Changing our community starts at our front door step. How well do you know your neighbors? Pick one you don't really know, introduce yourself, and invite them to dinner - your choice whether you cook or go to a restaurant. Spend dinner getting to know them. Ask them how long they have lived here, what they do for a living, what do they love the most about the neighborhood, what would they like to see improved, etc. You can learn a great deal about your neighborhood and your community over a couple sandwiches and coffee.
- Learn About, Support, and Mobile Loaves and Fishes Visit Community First! Village
Community First! Village is a 27-acre master planned community outside Austin, Texas that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for the disabled, chronically homeless in Central Texas. A development of Mobile Loaves & Fishes, this transformative residential program exists to love and serve our neighbors who have been living on the streets, while also empowering the surrounding community into a lifestyle of service with the homeless.
Bed and Breakfast accommodations are available for reservation for guest and tours are free. The Community Inn provides a choice of accommodations: All-Inclusive (vintage campers and charming tiny homes feature air-conditioning, as well as ensuite bathrooms and showers), Glamping (air-conditioned comfort in tiny homes and campers with easy access to nearby bath and shower facilities), and Camp-Style (camp-style units with convenient access to bath and shower facilities).
A weekend at Community First! Village is an excellent opportunity to explore social action and prayer in the context of service among the poor.
- Suggested Reading
- Same Kind of Different as Me - Ron Hall and Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent
- Welcome Home
less- One Man's Journey of Discovering the Means of Home - Alan Graham with Lauren Hall
- Just Courage - God's Expedition for the Restless Christian - Gary Haugen
- No Innocent Bystanders - Becoming an Ally in the Struggle for Justice - Shannon Craigo-Snell and Christopher Doucot
- Just Mercy - Bryan Stevenson