Category: Weekly Service Challenge

The Thank a Police Officer Challenge

Recently my family was in the parking lot of a gas station, renting a Redbox movie. My soon looked over and joyfully shouted, “LOOK! A POLICEMAN!” (Well, it was actually, “WOOK! A POWICEMAN!” Kid talk … it completely charms me.) My son has had great experiences with police officers in the past, and he was thrilled to see one of his heroes at work.

The policeman, sitting in his car, noticed us and smiled. I brought my kids over to meet him. He got out of his car, greeted us, and took a few moments to get to know my children. As we went to leave, he looked at me and said, “Thank you. I really appreciate when parents take the time to introduce their kids to me. I want kids to know that I’m a good guy, and that if they need me, I’ll be there to help them.”

These words touched me. As parents, we teach our kids to call 911 in case of an emergency. But do they know who actually responds to those calls? Do they know who the policemen (and policewomen) are in our areas? And have we taken the time to get to know them — and to say “Thank You?”

This week, that is our service challenge. We are going to find our local police officers, and we are going to say thank you.

Thank a Police Officer

I’ll admit, other than chatting with them in parking lots and in stores, I haven’t made the effort to look for our local policemen to thank them for their efforts. So this week’s challenge is not just for you and your family, but for mine as well! And I’d love to hear your ideas and your feedback!

To start this challenge … first, if you don’t already know it, find where your local police station is. Just do an internet search for “Police Station” and your city name. I live in a city that is large enough that we have the headquarters, and then several smaller offices. (I had no idea!) Locate the office that is closest to you – these will likely be the men and women who will race to help you in an emergency.

When you’ve located that station, it’s time to say thank you! Here are a few ideas I have for you:

* Make a thank-you card. This is cheap, simple, and a great activity for kids. Being a police officer can be a thankless job – let them know how much you truly appreciate their work and their sacrifice.

* Drop off a treat. Because seriously … who doesn’t love being surprised with a fun snack?? I’d advise against bringing homemade food unless you personally know your police officers – they need to be very careful about accepting food from strangers. But pre-packaged snacks will likely be greatly appreciated!

* Bring water bottles. I don’t know about you, but where we are, it’s HOT outside! A case of water bottles will always come in handy.

* Pay for a meal. If you see a police officer grabbing fast food, consider picking up the tab. Or you can drop off gift cards to local restaurants. Even a $5 gift card is enough for a quick snack or a treat for a busy officer.

* Just say thank you. Seriously. That’s what this challenge is all about. If your house was bring broken into … if you were in a store that was being robbed at gunpoint … if you found yourself a victim of a violent crime … a police officer would risk personal safety to rescue you. It’s easy for us to take this for granted, but I don’t want to take it for granted. I want to remember them. I want to appreciate them. And I want to teach my children to do the same.

What ideas do you have for us for this week’s service challenge? How have you helped support your local police officers? What will you be doing for our challenge this week?

The Note Challenge

Once again, it’s Service Thursday and time for a new challenge! Last week’s challenge was a bit of a … well, challenge … for me. And, as I shared on Facebook, it was not exactly a rousing success. But hey, it’s the thought that counts, “gushy” or not! So a this week’s challenge is going to be short and sweet: write a note for someone you love.

The Note Challenge

Here are a few ideas to get you started:
* I love this post from Pennies of Time – wrote notes on a mirror for your kids (or your spouse) to find.
* Stick an encouraging note in a lunchbox, backpack, or briefcase.
* Write a note and mail it. As silly as it sounds, you could even mail a letter to someone who lives in your house! (Or even just hide a note in the mailbox and then send your kids outside to check the mail.) Because if your kids are anything like mine, they LOVE getting mail!
* Pop a note into a pocket, on a windshield, on the fridge … anywhere! Before a business trip, my husband once left notes taped around the house for me to find throughout the week. For example, taped on the milk was “You’re a great mom!” Taped on the vacuum was “Thank you for taking care of our home!” Those notes absolutely made my week. In return, I wrote a tiny note, folded it up, and tucked it into his tube of deodorant. When he got ready the next morning, he opened his deodorant and a love note fell out. I like to think that he walked into his meetings that day with his head held high, knowing that he was loved and appreciated.
* Leave a note for a stranger to find. Stick a “You’re a great parent” note on a pack of diapers in the grocery store. Put a “You look great today” note on a mirror in a public restroom. You can even combine this with another challenge, like the Dollar Challenge or the Quarter Challenge.

There are a few ideas to get you started. Who are you going to write a note to this week?

The Serve Like Grandma Challenge

A few months ago I wrote about two best friends who became sisters, and who then stayed best friends forever. It’s one of my favorite stories of all time, and if you haven’t read it, I’d be honored if you’d check it out here.

But the last few days, I’ve had a strong desire to share the other half of the story. I told you about precious Dorothy, and we had a service challenge in honor of her. I rocked my light blue fingernails for weeks, and it was an honor to look down at my hands, smile, and remember to treat everyone I met like a long-lost brother or sister.

And now … it’s time to continue our story with the second half of the dynamic duo.

Dorothy and Anna

When we left off our story, it was beautiful Ann’s wedding day. She and Dorothy were in the hallway outside the chapel. They were hugging each other, squealing, bouncing up and down in the hall in their puffy dresses and yelling, “We DID it! We DID it! We GOT HIM!”

That’s where her story ended last time. But in reality, it was just beginning.

Ann and Dave were blessed with six beautiful children. They began a legacy of faith and of love. They served at Church, they served their neighbors, they served at home. They lived near Dorothy (and her sweetheart, Chuck) and they raised their babies together. Quietly, in her own sweet way, Ann blessed her children with the love that every child deserves.

And then, many years later, came the most important day of Ann’s life.

I – her favorite grandchild – was born.

(I know you think I’m either kidding, or a little full of myself. But here’s the truth: deep in my heart, I’m confident that I’m my Grandma Crockett’s favorite.)

(And her 14 other grandkids are equally confident that THEY are her favorite.)

Cousins

She makes each one of us feel that way.

What a priceless, precious gift.

I live far away from my grandparents now, but when I’m back in town and talking with my Grandma, one look into her loving eyes has me convinced that she’s never happier than when I’m there. As I have gone through the greatest challenges of my life, she has cried with me. As I have gone through my happiest seasons, she has rejoiced with me. She has celebrated my graduations and my wedding and the births of my babies. She has worried about me. She has prayed endlessly for me. And with every step forward I take in my life – with every accomplishment – I am absolutely confident that she couldn’t be prouder of me. My heartbreak is hers; my joy is hers.

If only everyone could have this kind of love. What a place this world would be!

Grandma Annie

As I began working on this week’s challenge, I reached out to some of my cousins. I asked them how they could summarize Grandma’s love. And the answer: “I think Grandma serves in her kitchen!” And it’s so very true. If you asked her is she were an accomplished chef, she would laugh and shake her head. And I don’t know what exactly makes an accomplished chef. But … well … perhaps a lifetime of …

Baking thousands of cakes to celebrate births and birthdays. Preparing tray upon tray of enchiladas at Christmastime. Lovingly filling huge Rubbermaid containers full of cookies for her grandkids to sneak into. Stocking her home with her grandchildren’s favorite nacho cheese, chilling mugs for root beer, buying jars of pickles for her salt-loving granddaughters. Spending countless hours kneading dough for her legendary rolls (which are devoured in seconds). Rolling out pie crust with little helping hands nearby, and saving the scraps to make a special cinnamon sugar cookie just for you. Making sure that her babies (and grandbabies, and great-grandbabies) were fed and nourished and happy. Making sure that every person who leaves her kitchen is full of food, and full of love.

If she isn’t a master chef, I don’t know who is.

Serve Like Grandma

So this week’s service challenge: Be like my grandma, and serve from your kitchen. Cook, bake, sautee, frost, blend … whatever your heart desires. It doesn’t really matter what you cook.

Just cook with love.

Bake cookies for your neighbor, bring dinner to a new mom, drop off a pie to someone who needs encouragement. Make your daughter’s favorite dinner, grill your wife’s favorite steak, bake your son’s favorite bread, whip up your husband’s favorite brownies.

Serve from your kitchen this week.

Make someone feel like they’re your favorite.

Make someone feel loved.

Just like grandma does.

Grandma and Grandpa

How are you going to participate in this week’s service challenge? Who gets to feel like they’re your favorite this week?

The Serve a Shelter Challenge

For several years, I have had a silly idea bouncing around in the back of my head. See, I don’t have all that many talents. I’m not a great piano player or dancer. I don’t draw, I don’t paint, I don’t sculpt. My coordination is … well, infamous. You don’t even want to know what happened the first time I went roller skating.

(Okay. I’ll tell you. I got a concussion.)

(You just can’t make this stuff up.)

But y’all, I do have one gift. I know how to coupon.

No worries – I’m not one of those crazy coupon ladies on TV that buys 147 bottles of mustard at 3 cents each, just because I can. But I do love saving money on products that my family uses and loves, and I’ve learned how to buy many name brand items for much less than their generic counterparts. And I find that really exciting.

(I know. I need to get out more.)

So for years, I’ve had this idea: I wanted to go volunteer at the local women’s shelter. And I wanted to teach them “how to coupon”.

A few months ago, I lucked out and met one of the women who runs this shelter. And imagine my delight when I found out that they had been actually looking around for someone to come teach the ladies how to coupon!!

Friends … it was magical. Honestly. Sitting in a room with women who have been lived unimaginable lives … talking to them, answering their questions, encouraging them, showing them that they CAN afford nice things if they learn a few little skills … sending them on their way with toothpaste and shampoo and nail polish and baby lotion … seeing their gratitude for even these simple items … it snapped my life into perspective. It showed me that the problems I deal with really aren’t so bad. And as I returned home, I felt so, so blessed.

So this week, we’re going to do a challenge we’ve done before. We’re going to do the shelter challenge again.

Simple Ways to Serve Your Local Shelter

For those of you newer to Let’s Do Some Good Today (or for those who would like a refresher), you can check out the original challenge here.

This week, I’d like you to do something for a local shelter. You can take this challenge in a lot of different directions, but first of all, you need to choose a shelter. What speaks to your heart? Within 20 miles of my home, we have women’s shelters, animal shelters, a shelter for homeless teens, shelters for homeless families, shelters for homeless men … and those are just the ones I know of! If you don’t know where to start, try asking around, or even do an online search for “shelter” and your zipcode.

Once you’ve picked a shelter, time to serve!

1. Wish list. If this is your first time participating in this challenge, you can just do what we did for our last challenge: print off their wish list. Many shelters have this right on their website. If they don’t, you can call and ask what their greatest needs are. They’ll be thrilled to tell you! I think that many of us like the idea of helping those in need, but we don’t know where to start. Well, this is your start! When you find out what is needed, it will be easy to keep your eyes open. When I see socks and underwear on clearance, I grab them – I know every shelter needs them. When I see a fantastic deal on pet food, I pick some up to donate to the animal shelter. When I find an awesome sale on make-up, I grab a little extra to donate to the women’s shelter, just for fun. By knowing what the needs are in my community, it is much easier for me to serve.

If you’ve already done that, here are a few more ideas for you to consider:

2. Shop. Set a budget for yourself and go buy a few items that your local shelter urgently needs. Shop smart! I’m all about shopping frugally so you can maximize your ‘giving budget’. (I don’t usually talk much about that over here since this isn’t a money saving blog, but I have guest posted on my cousin’s awesome website. If you’d like to read the articles I’ve written on saving money, and on earning a little extra cash, you can check this post out.) One more tip: I always, always check my “junk mail” for coupons. I will occasionally get coupons from local stores that say things like “$10 off any purchase of $10 or more”. That’s the perfect way to pick up a small item for a shelter!

3. Volunteer. Do you think you can commit to helping your local shelter once a week, or even once a month? See what help they need! If you can’t sign up for a long-term commitment, ask and see if there’s a one-day project that they need help with. Do they need a room painted? Show up with a group of friends and get it done! Do you have some random but useful skill (like, I don’t know, couponing)? Call them up and ask if they’d be willing to let you come teach a class!

4. Gather. If your friends knew what your local shelters needed, they might be willing to help.  Raise your voice on social media and advocate!  One of my local hospitals is always in need of items for new babies, so I hosted a baby shower for charity. My cousin’s local hospital was specifically in need of baby blankets, so she hosted a baby blanket drive and picked them up all around town. Once you find out what the needs are, let others know, too.

That’s our challenge for this week, friends! Personally, my goal is to bring a few donations to the local animal shelter. I might do a few other things from this awesome list of ideas, too. What about you? What shelter do you want to support, and how are you planning on doing it?

Memorial Day Challenge: Thank a Soldier

Thank you so much, everyone, for your support for last week’s challenge! If you want to check out the wonderful things the Let’s Do Some Good Today community did yesterday, click here. And if you participated and didn’t get back to me yet, it’s not too late. I’d love to add you to the list!

To those who live in the USA, this weekend is Memorial Day.

This holiday can mean all kinds of different things. It could mean swimming or boating or camping. It could mean BBQs and s’mores, potato salad and watermelon. It could mean a day off of work or school, a day to sleep in, a day to be with family. No matter what you do this Monday, I hope it’s a wonderful day.

But do we get so busy on Memorial Day that we might forget … to remember?

Are we remembering the people who fought and died for our freedom? Are we remembering those who come home injured? Are we remembering those who came home “safe and sound”, but will bear emotional wounds for the rest of their lives? Are we remembering the families who have to say goodbye?

This week, amidst the fun and the celebration … we are going to say thank you.

Thank a Soldier Challenge

 

We’re going to be repeating a past challenge – we’re going to be thanking a soldier. If you have completed this challenge before, that’s awesome! This time, perhaps you can try something new.

As for me, tomorrow I will be going to volunteer with a group of disabled adults. We are going to sing patriotic songs, and we are going to make cards to send to soldiers who are from our area and are currently stationed overseas. I’m using AnySoldier.com to choose the troops we’re going to support, as well as to find out what items they most need right now.

Please join me! You can click here to get details on the Thank a Soldier Challenge. I have lots of ideas for you – hopefully you can learn something new! And please let us know if you have any more ideas or suggestions! I’d love to hear how you’re saying thank you.

100 Acts of Kindness Day

It’s here! 100 Acts of Kindness Day is finally here! 🙂

100 Acts of Kindness Day

Today, as you complete your act (or acts) of kindness, please leave a comment here or on our Facebook page. I’d love a brief summary of what you did, as well as your location. I’ll keep updating this post throughout the day.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for participating with us!

1. Allowed a young mother to go to the front of the line at a department store – Manteca, CA
2. Donated to Confident Children out of Conflict’s trampoline fundraiser – Grand Prairie, TX (to benefit Juba, South Sudan)
3. Left money inside a Redbox DVD for the next person who rents it (to buy a snack)
4. Surprised 3rd grade daughter with lunch at school – Duncanville, TX
5. Gave out cookies to people eating lunch at Chick Fil A – Grand Prairie, TX
6. Gave a Target gift card to a young mother – Grand Prairie, TX
7. Donated blood. (Did you know that one blood donation can save up to 3 lives? Click here or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to get started!)
8. Shopped for Operation Christmas Child (this challenge was chosen by a 4-year-old) – Grand Prairie, Texas
9. Hid dollars in the aisles of the dollar store (this challenge was chosen by a 6-year-old) – Duncanville, Texas
10. Pre-loaded the carts at Aldi with quarters – Duncanville, Texas
11. Pre-loaded candy machines with quarters – Duncanville, Texas
12. Made a micro-loan to a fruit and vegetable seller through Kiva – Grand Prairie, TX (to benefit Sincelejo, Colombia)
13. Made a giant card for a friend who broke his leg
14. Invited new friends to celebrate the Creek Cleanup with cake and watermelon
15. Helped an elderly woman clean up the dog poop in her backyard
16. Delivered 66 blankets to babies in need – Las Vegas, Nevada
17. Helped a schoolmate study for final exams – Las Vegas, Nevada
18. Took cookies to the fire department – Sterling, VA
19. Taped quarters on a soda machine – Sterling, VA
20. Left a thank-you card and a bag of candy for the mailman – Sterling, VA
21. Sent a care package to daughter in college – Sterling, VA
22. Taped a $5 bill on the sidewalk – Sterling, VA
23. Made treats and dinner for a family in need – Las Vegas, Nevada
24. Organized teacher appreciation gift for daughter’s teacher – Grand Prairie, TX
25. Baked over 70 cupcakes for Boy Scouts Arrow of Light celebration – Grand Prairie, TX
26. Left some cookies at the door of a mother who is having a hard time
27. Kids sent a big box of old markers their school had collected to be recycled at Crayola
28. Visited The Hunger Site and clicked to give a cup of food to people in need
29. Visited The Animal Rescue Site and clicked to give food to a hungry animal
30. Donated to Save The Children’s earthquake relief fund – Grand Prairie, TX (to benefit Nepal)
31. Donated to charity: water (to benefit Nepal)
32. Bought a candy bar for a cashier
33. Gave quarters to kids in the arcade area at Walmart
34. Bought a pizza to give to a homeless couple
35. Asked a cashier what her favorite treat was, then bought it for her – Phoenix, AZ
36. Listened to, and helped, a friend going through a relationship problem – Provo, UT
37. Delivered dinner and snacks to an elderly man who was sitting alone in his car, under a tree
38. Let a rude and angry driver pull ahead into the lane – Dallas, TX
39. Babysat for a parent who is going through a separation – Salt Lake City, Utah
40. Took a surprise birthday gift to a child’s teacher – Salt Lake City, Utah
41. Donated money to Primary Children’s Hospital while checking out at Walmart – Salt Lake City, Utah
42. Wrote thank-you notes to a child’s teachers (including specialists) – Grand Prairie, TX
43. Donated to Fallen Heroes Fund
44. Threw a last-minute baby shower for a soon-to-be mother who doesn’t have any family in the country – Duncanville, TX
45. Took groceries to a family in desperate need – Denver, PA
46. Gave outgrown toys to someone whose grandson needed them, rather than selling them as planned
47. Helped a kindergardener find a tooth that had been (literally) lost on the playground
48. Made teacher appreciation gifts for my son’s preschool
49. Cooked brownies for the piano teacher
50. Gave a gift card to a family that needed to a boost – Manteca, CA
51. Clicked to donate at The Literacy Site
52. Clicked to donate at The Autism Site
53. Clicked to donate at The Breast Cancer Site
54. Clicked to donate at The Rainforest Site
55. Shared a “Go Fund Me” account on Facebook
56. Made a donation to help a child with kidney failure
57. Ran errands for his busy wife
58. Made dinner for his wife
59. Bought a gift card for a teacher
60. Sent a friend an uplifting note
61. Made a donation to help spend special needs kids to surf camp
62. Made a donation to Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary
63. Left a sizeable tip for a hotel maid
64. Gave the gas attendant a Million Dollar Bill chocolate bar in honor of “Be A Millionaire Day”
65. Spread information about Autoimmune Arthritis Awareness Day

Tomorrow is the Big Day!

Tomorrow is THE BIG DAY!

(If you don’t know what THE BIG DAY is, you can catch up here.)

100 Acts of Kindness Day

So here’s how it’s going to work …

* We’re all going to go around and do something (or lots of somethings) nice tomorrow.

* We’re going to come back here and share our ideas with each other.

* It is going to be AMAZING!

So here’s how we’re going to keep this organized. Tomorrow, after you complete your act of kindness, you can either comment on the post that I’ll put up, or you can comment on our Facebook page. When I’ve received your comment, I’ll add it to the list. Just a brief summary would be great – and I’d love to hear your city/state (or country, if outside the US). So our post will look like this:

1. Handed out flowers in a nursing home. – Fairport, NY

2. Paid for a stranger’s groceries. – Dallas, TX

3. Wrote a thank-you card to a teacher. – Manteca, CA

4. Left a treat for my mailman. – Provo, UT

… And so on. As I get your comment, I’ll update the list. We’ll see if we can get to 100 acts of kindness! WOOHOO, I am SO excited!

Remember, if you’d like to print off a little note explaining what we’re doing, click here. (It’s totally free, of course.)

A few more things I want to mention. First of all, there’s really only one “rule” for tomorrow … your act of kindness needs to be something you wouldn’t normally do. Our goal tomorrow is to stretch ourselves a little bit and to serve someone that we normally wouldn’t. We’re teaching ourselves to look for opportunities to spread sunshine. I really believe that kindness is a skill; like any other skill, the more we practice it, the more naturally it will come to us.

And the last thing … you might be wondering why we’re coming back and reporting to each other. Usually I don’t ask you to do that (although I LOVE it when you do). There are two reasons I’d like to do that tomorrow. The first is that it’s always exciting to serve in a group. Since we’re spread all over, this website is our group, and this is the best way I could come up with to serve “together”. 😉 The other reason is that I have found many, many wonderful service ideas by reading other people’s stories online. Some of my very favorite ideas have come from other blogs. And I’m hoping that as our list grows tomorrow, we’ll see a few things that will make us think, “Oh, what a great idea! I’m going to do that next time!”

If you have any questions or need suggestions, please feel free to comment here. Otherwise … I’ll “see” you tomorrow!!

The 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge

* Update: if you are participating in this challenge, please pop over to this page to let us know what you did! *

Friends, I’m reaching out of my comfort zone a little bit with this week’s service challenge. But I am really, really excited …

There are two things you need to know. First of all, when I began this website last year, I was hoping to be able to use it to find an online community of people who, like me, truly want to make a difference in the world. And in less than a year … I’ve FOUND you! And I truly do feel like we have a little community here on the website, and on our Facebook page.

The second thing important fact … a few years ago, I began a family tradition. May 20th is our family’s Random Acts of Kindness Day. We go around the community and do nice things for strangers. It is SO fun!

In case you haven’t guessed …

May 20th is coming up. It’s time to party. And you’re invited.

RAKs

Yes, friends. I’d like for our little community to join together and have a Random Acts of Kindness Day. And I’d like us to do it “together”. Since we are all over the U.S. (and some of us are in other countries), we obviously can’t get together for a service party (although that would be SO AMAZING). But next Wednesday, we’re going to reach out in our own communities. We’re going to serve “together”. And it’s going to be remarkable.

Now here’s where it gets a little bit “out of my comfort zone”. I’m actually not a very number-oriented person. When I prepare our weekly service challenges, I never really know how many people are actually doing them, and that’s okay. But this time, I’d like to set a goal for us.

A big goal.

I want us, the Let’s Do Some Good Today community, to perform 100 acts of kindness on May 20th.

(That’s a lot of kindness. Which is why I need you.)

There’s really only one “rule” for our Acts of Kindness Challenge: do something you wouldn’t normally do. If you normally pick up trash in your local park every Wednesday, that is FANTASTIC. But this Wednesday, I’d like to encourage you to do something above and beyond what you’d normally do. I want us to start a flood of kindness this week! Can you imagine if we did 100 acts of kindness … and if some of the recipients of kindness decided to pay it forward?

I can imagine. And it gives me chills.

Maybe you already have something in mind to do. But if not (or if you’d like to do a few different things – THANK YOU), here are some ideas for you:

* Clean up garbage at a local park

* Anonymously leave flowers or a treat on a neighbor’s doorstep

* Pay someone’s toll

* Invite someone over to your home who might be lonely

* Buy a meal for the person behind you in line

* Leave quarters where kids can find them

* Bring flowers to a hospital or nursing home

* Write a soldier or a missionary

* Babysit for free for a friend with young children

* Bring dinner to someone who is having health challenges

* Call someone who might need a listening ear

* Leave quarters in the Laundromat

* Reach out to someone who has cancer

* Do a chore for a family member that you know he or she dreads

* Post a kind note on someone’s Facebook page

* Make a donation to your local animal shelter (they often need simple things, like newspapers)

* Go through your closets and donate clothes that you don’t wear anymore to a homeless shelter

* Leave a generous tip and an encouraging note (or leave money in a tip jar)

* Get together with friends and do a service project (like a baby shower for charity or a blessing bag party)

* Give a blessing bag, a water bottle, or a gift card to a homeless person

* Hide dollars in the aisles of a dollar store

* Share coupons you don’t need (give them to someone who can use them, or leave them on store shelves)

For more ideas, feel free to check out Pennies of Time, The Birthday Project, and The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

100 Acts of Kindness Day

I made this 100 Acts of Kindness Printable for you (6 per page) if you’d like to have little notes to explain what you’re doing. You can hand them out on May 20th as you perform your acts of kindness … or if you can think of a way to share them before that day, that would be GREAT! Stick them up on a bulletin board, pass them out at church, give them to your friends … let’s spread the word!

This morning, as I was brainstorming this challenge, I was trying to decide why I am so passionate about random acts of kindness. And this is what it boils down to: you never, ever know what challenges someone is facing. Most people, in fact, are walking around with at least one trial weighing heavily on them. Your small act of kindness can be what that person desperately needs. It can be enough.

And if together we do 100 acts of kindness, and 99 of them are brushed off … but just one was desperately needed, and was the answer to someone’s prayers …

Well then, friends, May 20th will be a success.

So please, join me. Leave a comment here letting me know what you’ll be doing – your idea might inspire others! And on May 20th, I’ll have a new post up, and I’ll update it as the day goes by. Every act of kindness counts – if you’d like to do several to help push us to our goal of 100, that would be fantastic!

And may I ask one more favor? If you have a friend who might be interested in participating, would you please share this post? I would appreciate it SO much! I would love your help in reaching this big goal of 100 acts of kindness!

It’s time to start planning, friends. I can’t WAIT to hear your ideas!

It’s Shoebox Time!

It’s Service Thursday! And today, we’re going to be starting one of my FAVORITE challenges over again. It’s time to start thinking about Christmas!

(Um, Kimber? It’s May.)

I know.

But May or not … take a look at this.

Joyful, isn’t it?

And you and I? We’re going to make that happen.

Candy

Operation Christmas Child is one of my favorite programs. I’ve written about it in the past, but if you’re new to Let’s Do Some Good Today (welcome!), here’s a summary. Samaritan’s Purse collects gift-filled shoeboxes in November and ships them all over the world to children in poverty as part of their Christmas ministry. If you’d like to participate, you just need to pack a shoebox with small gifts, label the age group (2-4, 5-9, or 10-14) and the gender that it’s been packed for, and drop it off at a collection center. They ask for a $7 per box donation to cover the cost of shipping. And if you pay that donation online, you can print off a unique barcode. When your shoebox arrives at its destinaton, you’ll get an e-mail telling you where it went. Last year, my boxes ended up in Mexico, Ghana, Indonesia, and the Ukraine. It was SO exciting to get those e-mails!

In case you’re not positive you want to participate …

If you can’t tell, I LOVE PACKING SHOEBOXES. And I’d love to have you join me this year.

Shoebox pile

Of course, you could just wait until November to pack your shoebox. But I’d like you to start collecting items now. This will make it SO much easier – and hopefully cheaper! As you have OCC on your mind through the next six months, you’ll catch little items on sale and pick them up. If you plan it right, you’ll never have to pay full price for anything.

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As an example, in my closet right now, I have Christmas cups and Pez dispenser that I found on clearance at Winco, toy trains and stuffed animals that I found on clearance at Walgreens, toothpaste that I got for free with coupons at CVS, toothbrushes that were donated to me by the dentist, board books and puzzles I got on clearance at Target, needles and thread that I found on clearance at Walmart … and many, many boxes full of other treasures. I pick up these items at rock-bottom prices, tuck them away in my closet, and then in November, I don’t have to buy very much. I can just get together with my friends and have a packing party!

Candy in the water bottles

So this week, your assignment is simple: get a shoebox. (Or a shoebox-sized plastic bin.) That’s it. Just get your box. And then every few weeks, if you pick up one small item, you’ll have a wonderful shoebox ready to ship in November! If you need some ideas, you can see the original challenge here, or you can check out our Operation Christmas Child category. I’ll also be sharing more tips with you as the time gets closer.

So that’s this week’s service challenge. Are you in?

Please let me know if you have ANY questions! I would truly love to help.

The Baby Blanket Challenge

Well, y’all, time for another Service Thursday challenge. This week’s challenge was inspired by my wonderful cousin Danielle, who writes at Today’s The Best Day. She has organized a fantastic cause: Boogie On For Babies. The idea is simple: Dance. And donate a blanket. Cute idea, right?

Danielle has partnered with The Lullaby Connection, a non-profit organization with an inspiring mission: “We are dedicated to making sure that every at-risk baby born in the Las Vegas Valley begins their life with something new, warm, and filled with love.” Darla, the founder of TLC, shares her story on Danielle’s blog. It began when she, as a volunteer at a local hospital, found out that many local mothers in difficult financial positions did not have clothing or even a blanket to bring their babies home from the hospital in. When she saw one mother wrap her baby up in her own sweater, her heart broke. And she decided to help. I’d encourage you to read her sweet story here.

The Baby Blanket Challenge

So what are we going to do this week? Here are some ideas for you!

* Participate in Danielle’s Boogie On For Babies challenge! Buy a blanket to send into The Lullaby Connection. Video yourself (your kids, your dog, whoever) dancing, post it on Facebook, and challenge three other friends to take the challenge!

* Help a friend or a neighbor. Do you know of someone who could use a little bit of support (financially, or even just emotionally) who has a new baby? Show up with a baby blanket, and then stick around for a few minutes and see if you can help! Offer to hold the baby while mom and dad take a nap, bring over dinner, drop off muffins for breakfast … just do something to show that you care!

* Donate a baby blanket locally. There are likely many places around you who would be thrilled to receive your donation. You can try a hospital, a pregnancy resource center, a homeless center, or even a food pantry. If they don’t need your donation, they will likely be very happy to tell you who could use it.

* Involve your friends. Try planning a baby shower for charity! This was one of the most fun girls’ nights that I have ever organized. It is SO fun to serve with your friends!

Serving as friends

That’s our service challenge this week! How are you going to participate? Are you going to boogie for a baby? Are you going to challenge your friends to join you? Are you going to pull out your sewing machine? Are you going to head to the store? I’d love to hear how you’re going to participate this week!