Thanksgiving In A Box

Thanksgiving in a Box - Parenting Like Hannah

Photo by Benn Wolfe

About this time every year, many parents begin searching for service projects to complete as a family. They want a project that will help their children understand how grateful they should be for the blessings God has given them. They want a way to serve others and share their faith at the same time.

A great way to introduce your children to grateful service and faith sharing is to involve them in a project during the upcoming school holidays. During these days with no school or extra curricular activities, many families find they have free time to fill. Rather than just turning on the television, I challenge you to do this special service project with your family. To make it even more fun and challenging, see if you can pull it off without the recipient knowing who served them, but still find a way to share your faith with them!

For years now, our church has done a project we called Thanksgiving In A Box. Although we do it on a large scale for a church in a less affluent part of town, this is also a great project for one family to do for another. Ask the produce clerk at the grocery store to save you an empty apple or banana box. Then fill it with everything a family could use for Thanksgiving dinner, breakfast and probably another dinner.  In an average box we put a couple of cans each of green vegetables, yellow vegetables, tomatoes, soup, beans and fruit. We also include cereal or oatmeal, rice or pasta, stuffing mix, boxed mashed potatoes, bread mix (like corn muffins), dessert mix, cranberry sauce and a canned ham (those are usually cheapest at drug stores for some reason). A box can run between $20 and $40 depending on sales, coupons and how full you fill it. If you can only afford a few dollars, just focus on the basics or deliver homemade baked goods instead.

We make sure nothing has to be refrigerated and requires as few additional ingredients and special equipment to make as possible. Your kids can have fun decorating the box, helping you shop for the contents and packing it up. Our daughter has been helping our family with this project since she was a toddler. Then take your box and deliver it the weekend before Thanksgiving to the porch of someone who is having a tough time. Ring the bell and RUN!!!

On the way home, talk to your children about why God wants us to serve others. Discuss the scriptures that talk about the kinds of people we are to serve and why God wants the “right hand not to know what the left is doing”. Service without God loses much of its meaning. Many groups today do wonderful things for the world. Yet God is not a part of their thinking. Not only should our service point others to God but show them His love for them. Our service should glorify God and help convert others to want to follow His Word. I think you will find it also adds a fullness and richness to our service that you may not have experienced before.

If you have other service projects you do in secret with your family, I would love to hear about them. Post a comment here and maybe we can spread some “service with God” throughout the country for the rest of this year!

PS.  If you love to knit or crochet and/or your child has asked to learn how to knit/crochet, the Special Olympics is looking for people to knit special scarves and donate them to the Winter Special Olympics. Check redheart.com for details. Scarves are due December 31.

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)