Summer Service—Family Style
The end of the school year. For families tied to the yearly rhythm of the school system, there's a freedom unique to summer—a sense of possibility and adventure that begs to be explored. Beyond destination vacations and the ubiquitous sports or academic camp, where could this summer take your family? Consider Christ’s love for the poor and Paul’s exhortation in Philippians 2:4 for each of us “to look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Do you sense an invitation to leave ordinary behind and create space in your summer for experiences with potential to shape your heart, and the lives of people in our city, for the better?
Need help getting started? Here's a list of local volunteer opportunities particularly well-suited for families in the summer of 2017.
- Families with elementary-age kids—United Ministries serves the homeless and families in financial crisis. They have created a list of age-appropriate object lessons for kids that, when combined with collecting items for donation and spending an hour with staff at their facility, can help families grow in compassion for the poor and in their understanding of how to help without hurting. Contact me to receive a copy of the list.
- Families with kids ages 10+—Harvest Hope Food Bank is the largest provider of food for the hungry in SC, serving over 200 households per day with dignity, compassion, and education. It may be difficult to believe, but one in 10 people in Greenville do not know where their next meal will come from. Volunteers are needed Monday through Friday, 9am-3pm, to work in their food pantry on White Horse Road. Schedules are flexible and roles include bagging food, stocking shelves, and serving pantry clients directly. Kids ages 10 to 15 must be supervised by an adult and a brief volunteer training is required for all volunteers. Contact Tanya Yachaina, Volunteer Coordinator.
- Families with kids ages 12+—Miracle Hill Ministries serves the homeless, adults recovering from addiction, children in DSS custody, and foster families in Greenville. It can be difficult to narrow down a place to serve within this remarkable organization, however there is a way for your family to be a blessing to all these areas of ministry—volunteer in a MHM thrift store! With eight thrift stores across Greenville County, there is one on your side of town. Stores are open Monday through Saturday with three volunteer shifts: 9-11:30am, 1-4pm, and 4-6pm. Depending on the age of your kids, volunteer roles could include sorting donations, organizing books, straightening clothing racks, or cleaning display shelves.
Other family volunteer roles for families with kids ages 12+ through Miracle Hill Ministries:
- Fathers and sons can wash and clean vehicles at Greenville Rescue Mission, Shepherd’s Gate, Overcomers, or Renewal Center; flexible scheduling available.
- Mothers and daughters can help with Closet Management at Shepherd's Gate, the women’s homeless shelter. Flexible schedules available for delivering donated clothes, sorting, folding, re-organizing, etc.
For all these opportunities, contact Jaclyn Pinkham, Volunteer Coordinator.
Looking for outdoor events your family might enjoy? Both volunteers and participants are needed to raise awareness and funds for these local partners.
- June 8—Habitat Greenville’s Golf Fundraiser at Green Valley Country Club. Volunteer form.
- July 22—Harvest Hope Food Bank’s Hunger Run 5K at Furman University.
- August 5—Julie Valentine Center’s annual Run to Overcome 5K, 10K, and Kid’s Fun Run at Cleveland Park. Register at raceroster.com.
- August 12—Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club’s SuperHero 5K at the Kroc Center, 7-11am.
This summer my plans will take me into two new areas which I've wanted to explore for years: mountain biking with my husband and giving my life away with no expectation of return in our city. When I'm not on the trails, I’ll be volunteering with adults in crisis and at-risk kids through partnerships with two excellent non-profit organizations in Greenville. Join me in a grand adventure!