My mommy-heart grew three sizes the other night when Kate and I packed lunches for "the men who sleep at church." Our church participates in Room in the Inn, a program in Nashville through which churches host homeless men during the colder months of the year. Every Wednesday evening, our church van goes to the downtown pick up location and brings ten men back to have dinner, shower and sleep, and eat breakfast. They are given sack lunches when driven back downtown in the morning.
Packing those lunches is one way our family can participate in this great ministry, and it is a great way to help Kate learn and practice our chief family value of compassion. I love how naturally generous and helpful kids can be, and Kate's enthusiasm for packing these lunches for "our guests" warms my heart. We counted out the paper bags, and she put an orange, a water bottle, and a bag of chips in each one while I made the PBJs. Then she cheerfully offered up some of her Halloween candy for their desserts (though we ended up putting in some of our leftover rainbow cookies from Claire's party instead, so they wouldn't go stale before we could eat them all).
To help her be even more involved, I made an illustrated grocery list specifically for the items we need to buy when we do these lunches.
The other side is items that our church food pantry collects. We don't need to get every item every time, of course, but my hope is that she can carry this list when we go grocery shopping, and spot some of these items to add to our cart.
I'm linking this post up with Kristen Welch's Works for Me Wednesday, so while we're at it, here's a bonus "works for me" tip: if you want something laminated, but don't want to spend the time or money to take it to Kinko's or wherever, use strips of packing tape to laminate it on the cheap! Just cover both sides of the paper, overlapping the strips slightly so water can't get through, and make sure the tape extends beyond the edges of the paper so they can be pressed together to seal it. Trim with a quarter-inch of tape around the edge so it will stay sealed!