Soup Kitchen

by Kelsey Norwood

in Family Fun

I spent last weekend with a bunch of 12-18 year old kids for a church activity that we call Youth Conference. The theme was “Mission: Possible” and we spent two days giving the kids opportunities to serve other people.

catholic community services

My group took a tour of Catholic Community Services, an organization that provides treatment and emergency services and refugee resettlement. We learned a little about refugees and the difficulties they face in having to flee their homes and countries and come to a foreign place where they do not speak the language or understand the culture.

I wanted to write about this because when my children are older I want to take them back to CCS to learn about the struggles that some people endure to give them some perspective and help them be grateful for what they have. Kids need to be reminded that they are not the center of the universe and that there are people out there who have absolutely nothing and who are constantly in fear of being killed or worse. This would be a great learning and service opportunity for families. CCS is very happy to take people on tours and give them service opportunities, so if your children are old enough, this would be an excellent family activity.

After our tour at CCS we served lunch at a soup kitchen, another great idea for a family activity. Serving others as a family is one of the best ways to teach your children how to be more thoughtful of others. And you can’t beat that feeling you get when you do something kind for someone else. Kids need these kinds of opportunities to do something completely good and unselfish.

Devoting two days to helping other people really reminded me that I am happiest when I am thinking more about others than about myself. I need to schedule times to deliberately help other people so I can always remember that happiness comes from helping others. Maybe I’ll see you at the soup kitchen!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dawna August 19, 2008 at 12:43 pm

That was a great day. I am happy that it all worked out and that it touched you. I know that it changed my thinking and my future ventures of service. We have so much.

2 Patricia August 19, 2008 at 3:04 pm

It is such a great experience serving others. I’m happy that you wrote about this and reminded ME that I’m not the center of the universe.

3 christian August 25, 2008 at 8:25 am

First off let me say that i love your site http://www.vanillajoy.com a lot
now.. back on topic hehe
I cant say that i agree with what you typed up… care to elaberate?

4 Heather A August 25, 2008 at 10:53 am

As I start my own little family, I want to keep service and helping others as a priority. A couple friends of mine have talked about their family traditions of working in a soup kitchen during the Thanksgiving holiday, or their family selecting another family in the community to give gifts to at Christmas time. Growing up my family would do the 12 days of Christmas for a family friend, and even just this small act of service was so much fun for us as children! I love those ideas and hope to implement them in our home as well!

5 Mel August 26, 2008 at 9:48 am

I’m putting in a shameless plug related to your post–Scouting for Food is coming up in September. Boy and Cub Scouts in your area will be collecting food for area foodbanks (in my area, it is Sept. 29). Call your local scout office and you will be able to find a pack near your area participating. It is a great project, and the boys get a real sense of helping out. If a scout comes to your door-please consider giving something to help.

6 Michelle August 26, 2008 at 10:15 am

What a great post, I took my son last year to volunteer at the soup kitchen in our community. It’s important to teach them to love and help others! Thanks for this post! :)

7 Elizabeth M. August 28, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Our church takes one day a month and works at the soup kitchen for the entire day. It’s really a great experience.

8 Stephanie Shumway August 28, 2008 at 4:31 pm

That is awesome- How did it work out in the soup kitchen? I’ve tried to get our youth to serve at the soup kitchen, but the kitchen told me that they needed to be at least 18. bleh. Did your kids have to sign anything special to do it? If you like doing that kind of stuff you should see if the church has a humanitarian services near you. Our young women LOVE serving there for mutual. the last time they went we filled school bags for kids who didn’t have supplies. they loved it and we’re going again next month!

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