Establishing A Family Service Night

Making goodie bags for the elderly

One of my goals for this year was to establish a monthly service night where we could work together with our children to serve others around us. I passionately desire to be participating in the Great Comission in simple and practical ways. I desire that our children can have real life tangible activities to be the hands and feet of Christ to those around us and to the nations. But at the same time I knew it is easy to get consumed in ministry and leave our families behind.

My goal this year was to establish a night in which we could serve others in a doable manner. I don’t want to add a huge project to my plate, but still practically encourage a heart for service to others in our hearts, both my husband and I, and our children. I am so thankful for the inspiration of Kristen at We Are that Family who recently compiled an excellent resource called 100+ Ways Your Family Can Make A Difference. This list has so many wonderful ideas for your family!

Homemade flower gifts made with love

This year our family is setting aside the 4th Friday of every month to be our family service night. These are the ideas we will be doing throughout the year, Lord willing. For February we are doing our service project for Valentine’s Day (today)! Some months we will likely do more than one activity at a time (as in December we will complete #13 & 14). I found it helpful to plan out our activities and get them on the calendar now!

1. Make Valentine’s Gifts for the elderly at our local care center.
2. Send a care package to our military.
3. Collect shoes for Shoes for Kids (visit our local consignment stores, Goodwill, etc. to collect shoes).
4. Buy restaurant gift cards and distribute to the homeless on street corners.
5. Collect items for restoration bags for girls coming out of trafficking.
6. Donate school supplies to a classroom in need (contact local school for specific needs here in our community).
7. Prepare New Mommy Blessings bags for our local Pregnancy Resource Center (newborn baby supplies (diapers, rash cream, toy, gender neutral outfit, burp cloth), new mom care items (nipple cream, lotions, etc), wrapped in a cute baby blanket or receiving blanket)k
8. Decorate our local Elder care center with homemade art work.
9. Bake cookies for our local Fire Department.
10. Pick up trash at local park as a family field trip.
11. Fill Action Packs for the persecuted church (via Voice of the Martyrs).
12. Make a baby care kit for a baby in need.
13. Fill Operation Christmas Child boxes.
14. Adopt an foster child for Christmas through Angel Tree.

Want to join us in establishing a fun family service night at your home? I will be sharing our adventures with you all as the year continues!

Love how babies bring such delight to the elderly!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

21 Responses to Establishing A Family Service Night

  1. Miriam February 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    Thank you for sharing these ideas! You have inspired me to do some of the same things with my kiddos, ages 9 and 5. God bless you :)

  2. Bethany R. February 19, 2012 at 1:11 am #

    What a great idea! I’ve been looking for ways to open our daughter’s eyes to the world around us. There is so much more than toys, name brand clothing, television, etc.

  3. Nikki February 18, 2012 at 4:34 am #

    What a great idea! I’m bookmarking this post so I can do something like this with my little ones.

    I came over from Tracey’s blog Girls to Grow.

  4. Tammy February 17, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Excellent post! I will def be thinking and praying about incorporating these ideas into our family. Thank you!

  5. prasti February 17, 2012 at 3:28 am #

    i love that last picture. i’ve been thinking about visiting some of the elderly folks at one of the centers here, but i wasn’t sure if it was okay to bring small children. our family serves and shares a meal for a local city program for former (and current) teen parents the once a month. we have been doing that for 3 years, and now it’s hard to imagine not having that as part of our routine. the kids really look forward to it too since they can play with friends that they don’t see very often.

    i like your idea of planning out the service activity each month. i think it would definitely keep me on track.

  6. Michelle {Fun On a Dime} February 16, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    What a fantastic idea! A great way to bond as a family and an excellent teaching opportunity.

  7. Lauren February 16, 2012 at 5:03 am #

    It’s so nice to include service members too! No matter where we’re stationed, I’ve always tried to make it a point to make my husband’s single soldiers feel a little more at home by inviting them over for a home cooked meal. Especially on holidays when they aren’t able to go to their real home!

    It may seem silly, but something I’ve learned from deployments is that they appreciate small gifts. One of their favorite packages of mine was a box full of yo-yos! Things that are easy to entertain and promote some fun are great! I’m sure the chaplains would never stop you from sending small Bibles or verses of encouragement either :)

  8. Katie @ imperfect people February 15, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    I totally love this. Thank younso much for the practical tips!

  9. Jocelyn February 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    This has SO been on my heart. I’ve just haven’t taken the initiative to brainstorm ideas for serving with small children. Thank you so much, Lindsay.

  10. Jennie February 15, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Hi Lindsay,

    I love your blog and check in regularly…thanks so much for all the amazing articles you share!

    I also love the idea of teaching our children to love those around them and to make a habit of giving. We are challenged to find ways to do this with young children, and I think many of the ideas you shared are great. I did however recently read, “When helping hurts: how to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor…and yourself” Really good read. Challeged many ideas I had about how we (from a middle class place) are actually not helping others, even with our best intentions. Also, I watched this video ( and it gave me even more to think through regarding handouts. Just food for thought!


  11. Shannon February 15, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    What a wonderful idea! I love the picture of your baby on the elderly woman’s lap…your children are so precious!

  12. Amanda February 15, 2012 at 6:06 am #

    This has been on my heart too! But I wasn’t sure where or how to start. Thank you so much for the suggestions. And If anyone else has suggestions I would love it if you would reply to this comment and let me know!

  13. Rebekah February 14, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Nice. I especially like the idea of sending a care package to military overseas. My family has sent a care package and letters through the website AnyMarine or It’s a place where the troops overseas can ask for things they need, and civilians can get a mailing address and then send them the requested items, as well as letters of encouragement and extras! :)
    This year, right around Christmas Eve, we received a letter back from a female Marine serving overseas, and it was heartwarming to read!

  14. Vicky Carlson February 14, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Wonderful and very doable too! :) Thanks!!!

  15. Meg February 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    LOVE this idea! Thank you! I have preschool/toddler aged children too so it’s great to see your family pulling it off – gives me encouragement to do it too!

  16. Lori February 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    Thank you! What great ideas to instill love for service in our kids!

  17. Sarah February 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    Good luck with your family volunteering adventure! Stop by for more family volunteering tips and reflection ideas. My family has been volunteering together for 2 years and it has made such a difference for us all.

  18. Rachel O'Neill February 14, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    What excellent ideas! My desire for my daughter is that she would grow up with a heart sensitive to the needs of others, always looking for ways to help and encourage. Thank you for the practical ideas on ways I can proactively seek to accomplish that :) .

  19. Whitney February 14, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    I had considered a once a month service project, but the months always seem to go faster than I can plan. I love the idea of having pre-established monthly ideas! Thanks for sharing! :)

  20. Anja February 14, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    So inspiring and practical, our family can definitely do many of these too – thank you!!

  21. ann at mommysecrets February 14, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Great ideas!! I’m going to repost and share with readers at mommysecrets. :)