I actually hear this question a lot. People are inspired to help kids, they realize they should reach out to humanity, they desire to change the world but... they are busy, they don't have money, they can't travel, they aren't good speakers--- I have heard every excuse. Now let's get down to business. If you really want to do good then decide what you can do to make something good happen in the world! It doesn't have to be for our organization though we would appreciate the help. Find a charity that pulls at your heart strings, find a social injustice that needs to be made right. Find a non profit that needs your help. It can be as easy as finding a park that needs a new flag pole or finding a daycare that needs volunteers for story time. You can invest as much or as little time, money or resources as you want.
A word of caution-- Do not become consumed with the overwhelming needs. Even Christ said the poor are with you always... If you allow yourself to be consumed you will soon burn out and avoid the needy. I have also seen this happen over and over. Outreach work is emotional and like treading water, you often don't feel as if you are getting anywhere. You work and work and work and life passes you by and others who you expected to help-- just don't. Such circumstances can leave you exhausted and bitter. SO... Do things that make people feel GOOD, do things to enrich life for yourself and others. Every day we make memories. Make GOOD memories for your family, your community, your chosen non profit! I realized a long time ago I can't make choices for people. I can't pay all their bills or take them to work or school each day. I can't make them give up bad habits or change their set of morals to match mine. But I can be there to celebrate their special days, to visit their sick, to forgive them their shortcomings, to play with their children, to have a picnic and water fight on a hot summer day or deliver a box of Christmas gifts for their family.
Host an Undie Sunday. Decorate a box or basket and announce socks and underwear will be collected then shipped to a charity. We distribute underwear to about 350 kids with school supplies and about 500 for Christmas. We try to give each person three pair of socks and three pair of undies.
Collects books/ school supplies or arts and crafts supplies. Be aware paper is heavy and you should ask for media mail to save money on shipping for books. We host scrapbook parties and have pictures printed and paper and embellishments provided for families to make their own scrapbooks.
Make an angel tree or a mitten tree to help with Christmas gifts. Remember to start early as it takes a long long time to complete a Christmas project and the sooner donated items are delivered to us the better! We also accept clothes and toys to distribute for Christmas and new clothes and shoes to deliver before school starts.
Collect Gift Certificates. This is a very easy and inexpensive way to help. We take kids shopping at Walmart, dollar stores, Kmart and for field trips to movies, bowling, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, etc. We spend a lot of money for office supplies so even Office Depot or Best Buy gift cards can be used immediately! Gift Certificates are easily mailed, they don't take up room in the church to store and no sorting is necessary!
Sponsor a child or the general fund each month. You will receive mailings detailing outreach activities and how your money helped. If you sponsor a child you will receive photos of that child. We depend on donations and without donors we cannot meet the needs of children.
Organize a work camp and visit our facilities. Paint, do construction, plant flowers, build picnic tables, sort clothes, make food boxes, do home repairs, wrap Christmas presents or a number of other things depending on the season. The group of volunteers can be made up of your work friends, your family members, church family, youth group, baseball team, etc. Project money should be collected and mailed ahead so supplies can be available when your group arrives.
Do Fundraisers and send proceeds to Appalachian Ministries-- have car washes, sell candybars, take up offerings once a month-- however you can host a fundraiser!
We are encouraged when we know others are praying for our work. There are times when the requests for help or the needs in the warehouse or the lack of construction money bear down on us. If you are a Christian, pray for our outreach programs. We are a Christian based outreach though we do host activities for everyone and most of the children we work with do not attend church. We have members of our own family who do not attend church but we realize without God's blessings, we wouldn't be able to reach as many as we do and we believe we are called by Him to work with the children in our area.