This Fall we have had 4 opportunities to serve together as a family. It's been wonderful to be able to get out into the community and do something that matters, and to have the boys right there with us. Everything we did was fun for us as well, which made it even better.
First, we went Apple Gleaning at a local orchard with a few other families from church. We collected well over 1000 pounds of apples in about an hour. We participated with this last year as well, and it is a fun way to serve! The apples were then taken to local shelters to be given to those in need.
Next, our family and two other families from church made dinner and served it to the residents at the homeless shelter in Leesburg. I was a little nervous about doing this, but it was so EASY! We were blessed to be able to eat with some of them as well, and share a little conversation. We also received a tour of the facility. The staff and volunteers there have such a heart to serve. I would really like to do this again sometime.
Third, the older boys and I participated with some other families from church in "reverse trick or treating". We went to a local nursing home and put together treat bags for the residents. Then we went through the halls encouraging people to come to the cafeteria where we had all gathered to have their dinner and hear the kids sing. Some of the residents are unable to leave their rooms, so I asked the staff how to find a few of them that didn't usually have visitors and we went to see them. It was a little difficult for the boys to engage because many of the residents there were quite ill, but I know it brought a smile to the faces of the people we interacted with.
Lastly, Philip and the older boys went with some of the singles from church and members of the Nicaragua team to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the residents at another local home. I made pumpkin pies for that evening, but Andrew and I were too worn out that day to go with the boys. So, I sent the pies in my place. :) The boys all really enjoyed themselves that night and were able to interact with several ladies.
We hope that the church will continue planning service events that are family friendly. They have been a blessing to us and we hope have helped open the eyes of our boys to see how truly blessed we are, and how we have a responsibility to share what we have with others.