This morning, I reluctantly turned the kitchen calendar to November. October holds such joy for my family with all the birthdays, pumpkin carving, and leaf peeping, and I am sad to see it go. But this is the month of Thanksgiving, time with our extended family, and Winnie’s first birthday, and for all of those reasons I am grateful for the fresh start. I want to keep my children grounded in this season—not looking too far ahead toward Christmas—so I am starting a family series called 30 Days of Gratitude on the blog this month. Each week, I’ll be sharing easy, inexpensive projects your family can do to practice gratitude, help others in your community, and invite joy into your lives this November. Ideas can be modified to be as simple or as elaborate as you want. We’re a family of six, so we’re always looking for the easy button!
30 Days of Gratitude: Week 1
Every city has its fair share of displaced members of the community. The homeless population in Charlottesville has multiple resources that provide rest and respite for the weary, as well as programs to help find employment and stable housing. We have supported some of these programs financially and volunteered with our children at others. But often, we see our homeless neighbors on the roadside and want to do more. If I am carrying cash, which is rare, I’ll give a few dollars to my neighbor. My kids have even been known to pass up coins from the backseat. But as fall wanes and winter sets in, we want to provide a little extra for the homeless in our community.
The kids pulled out the markers and wrote notes to their homeless neighbors. I let them have free reign on what they wanted to say, and they were just so precious, you guys. Harper penned a song, Maddox offered a prayer for finding a home and a job, and Henry shared his name and wrote, “I’m glad you live here.” After the notes were written and rolled up, we began assembling bags to be kept in the car and handed out to our homeless friends.
Nearly everything for the bags was purchased at the dollar store: toothbrush and toothpaste, a bar of soap, mints, a granola bar, a pair of socks, a comb, the note, a Bible verse, and a Starbucks gift card for a cup of coffee.
After the bags are given out, we’ll make more. I’d like to get some hand warmers next time, thicker socks, another coffee gift card for the colder months, and a brochure about the program our church participates in each December called PACEM (People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry) which provides a warm bed and food for the homeless throughout the winter. Until then, we’ll be praying for our neighbors in transition and thinking of other ways to lend a hand.
///Stayed tuned next week for another family friendly project as we practice 30 Days of Gratitude.