“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
The Bible is clear that as believers, we should be a part of feeding the hungry and helping those in need. Involving our kids in this type of ministry helps them realize the true needs in our world and appreciate all the blessings and conveniences they have. They will also become used to interacting with those who are different from them and learn the value of treating every person with respect and dignity, no matter their position or situation.
Passing Out Gift Bags
A great and easy way to start out helping the homeless is to make little bags as a family to keep in your car and pass out whenever you see a person on the street. Items like deodorant, toothpaste, granola bars, and bottles of water are good to pack, along with an encouraging Bible verse or note. When you see a homeless person, you could even have your child roll down his window and hand over the bag. If time allows, ask how you can pray for him/her and pray for the person as a family.
Donating Clothing and Food to Community Donation Sites
Donate clothing to your local Salvation Army or clothing pantry, or drop off food to your neighborhood food bank or church food pantry. Not only are you helping someone in need, but you can use the opportunity to teach your children in a tangible way the joy of giving to others.
Montrose Street Reach : Houston, TX
This organization sets up a “street church” every Wednesday night and provides a free meal and childcare for the homeless. Their goal is to help break the cycle of poverty, abuse, and addictions and to connect people with life-changing programs. I have known several people that love volunteering with this ministry and have developed a passion for helping those in need. This is a great place for older kids and youth groups to volunteer. Some families may not feel comfortable bringing their young children to this environment, but you could always check it out first yourself.
7more: Houston, TX
Josh and Debs Walker started this ministry to reach out to ex-offenders who are coming out of prison and provide them with dignity, encouragement, and resources. The 7more team greets ex-offenders when they step off the bus from prison to make their way in the world again and give them fresh clothes, shoes, and toiletry bags. They provide resources to help them find work and housing. It is a beautiful mission that allows the first people these men meet to be people who love Jesus and can bring them hope! The ministry is in need of hygiene bags each week which is something families can put together and pray for God to move in the men’s hearts. The Walkers have several other wonderful ministries in Houston, and you can find out more information by contacting them on their website.
Compassion United: Breakfast in The Park: Conroe, TX
This organization located in Conroe, TX serves breakfast in the park to those who are homeless on Saturday mornings. Churches and small groups sign up to bring the breakfast items on either a one-time basis or scheduled rotation. We had an opportunity to attend with our children’s school one Saturday, and it was a great opportunity for our kids to get involved. The people were really nice, and having our kids with us made it easier to start up conversations with people. Compassion International has several different ministries in Conroe, including a food pantry, so check out their website for additional opportunities to serve.
Lunches of Love : Fort Bend County, TX (south of Houston)
This organization provides lunches to over 4,000 children in need during holidays and summer break. Children of all ages are welcome to help, and kids 5 years or older can participate in deliveries with the parents. Even if you don’t live in this area, visiting the website may spark an interest in starting something similar in your area!