Our theme for the year is “Sent to Serve”, and what a year it is to consider this mission… It’s important to look at the ways in which serving one another looks different during the Covid Age. It’s easy to feel paralyzed during all of this uncertainty, and to feel like you must choose between keeping your family safe and getting out into your communities to serve. There’s good news though! It’s not an either-or, you CAN do both! Serving may look a lot different than what you’re used to, and you may have to adjust your expectations about what it’s like to “get involved”, but there are still many great ways to make a difference. It is important to us as Christians to give of our time and talents and serve humbly in ways both big and small – by doing so we can help spread the Good News of the Gospel and point people to Jesus.
It’s important to take into consideration your family’s own situation, level of risk, and comfort level when considering how to serve. Completely virtual opportunities may be the best fit for you, or you may be comfortable masking up, social-distancing and serving in-person. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach and all opportunities to serve/give are valuable. We’ve come up with the following list of opportunities to serve our communities during the pandemic and will continue to add as we find new ways to serve and give back. Please leave comments or send us a message with any additional opportunities we may have missed!
1. Donate to or Volunteer at a Local Food Shelf
ICA Food Shelf is open and helping to make a difference right here in our community. With every $1 donation, they are able to purchase up to $10 of food from food banks and offer pre-packaged bags of food to community-members in need. Learn more and donate here.
Second Harvest Heartland and Loaves and Fishes are two other organizations that are doing incredible work and stepping up in huge ways to meet the increased needs of our communities during the pandemic.
2. Make Random Acts of Kindness a Family Priority
Often we think we have to serve in big huge ways, but the smaller everyday acts of kindness are just as important! We like this post from Proverbs 31 Mentor that provides a great list of ideas broken down by age. Please note that not all may be appropriate during the pandemic, or may need to be modified in order to complete safely.
3. Donate to or Deliver for Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels have adapted their delivery practices during the pandemic to keep their drivers and the often-times high-risk recipients safe. Learn more about these safety measures and how to get involved on their website here.
4. Donate Blood & Platelets
There is a constant need for blood and platelets and organizations like the Red Cross and Memorial Blood Centers are working hard to providing these resources that are essential to community health. Check out their websites for more information on the donation process and safety protocols for blood donors.
5. Support Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota
Donations help LSS ensure that youth have shelter, that older adults are receiving nutritious meals and companionship, and people with disabilities have respectful, community-based care. There are also a variety of volunteer opportunities for adults, teens and kids. Learn more on their website here.
6. Get Involved With the Greater Twin Cities United Way
The Greater Twin Cities United Way website has a variety of ways that you can get involved and we love that they are clearly broken down by category – “At-Home Volunteer Opportunities”, “Pack for Impact Kits”, and “Custom Experiences”. There’s really something for everyone. Check it out here.
7. Organize Aid in Your Own Neighborhood
Utilize online platforms like Facebook and Nextdoor to help organize aid for neighbors in need, or simply provide a much needed boost to everyone’s mental health. Offer to order groceries to be delivered or shop personally for a neighbor in need. Offer childcare support or supervision at a neighborhood park. Set up a meal train for neighbors going through a tough time. Set up a little free library or food pantry. Call or be a pen-pal to someone who might be lonely. Organize socially-distanced neighborhood fitness activities… the possibilities are endless!
8. Utilize GIVEMN.ORG to Find a Variety of Local Organizations That Need Our Help
We like this website because you can find a wide variety of organizations and filter by location, category, donations matched or volunteer opportunities. It always feels good to know that someone out there is doubling your donation and helping it stretch even further!
9. Be Inclusive if Organizing Learning Pods
Remember that each family situation is unique and some may be more connected to their school communities than others. Try to help promote equity in learning no matter what the school year looks like by reaching out to students/families who may otherwise be left out. Offer to step-up and help out even when (especially when) the favor can’t be returned.
10. Make Safe Choices
It’s important to remember that we are still in a pandemic and one of the most important things you can do is make safe choices and do your part to help reduce the spread of this virus. So even just by making sacrifices and staying home you are playing an important role in helping keep others safe and letting front line workers and medical professionals do their job more safely and effectively.