Fun Family (Pre)Thanksgiving Service Project

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, canned diced 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 (Note:Try to find bread and dessert mixes that only require added water, as recipients may not have eggs or oil.), 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 helped 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.

Make sure you include something that points the family to God, whether it is a Bible or a note including an encouraging scripture and an invitation to join you at worship services. Brighten Thanksgiving for another family. It’s a great way to spend your family’s time and money!

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.

Published by

Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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