Springs of Love Teams: Project Ideas

The following are ideas for Springs of Love Teams to get started serving families and children in their area. New Teams may not have identified families within the community that can use their services; the projects for “anonymous families” list ways to jump into serving families and possibly start building a community of “known families” in the process. Look through the list and see what speaks to your parish!

Springs of Love Team welcomes a family

Serving Anonymous Families in the Community

In coordination with local agencies, Springs of Love Teams can support anonymous families. Learn what resources the agency/agencies are able to distribute. They may ask Teams to supply:

Box of donations
  • Meals to freeze for families to pick up when they need it
  • Clothes of various sizes – shoes, socks, underwear, coats, etc.
  • Toys
  • Gift cards
  • School supplies
  • Gift baskets/care packages for the whole foster family (see ideas below!)

Additionally, when supplying things like gift baskets and care packages, Teams might ask the agency if they can also invite families to join their ministry for a specific event. This could be a great way to build up your community of “known families” that the Team can serve more directly.

Serving “Known Families” in the Community

With known families” within the parish and community, there is the opportunity to supply material goods as well as service projects.

To identify families in the community, Teams can provide flyers/postcards to an agency (perhaps with some of the gift baskets mentioned above), letting families know about a scheduled babysitting time or play date.

SERVICE PROJECTS

  • Springs of Love Teams can offer events and babysittingPlay Date for foster families and other families in the parish: Let families get to know and support one another! This could be an entirely casual get-together at a local playground; it could be made slightly more formal with a promise of something like “donuts and coffee!”; or it could be a more organized event, like a Game Night, Playground Party (set up all your favorite playground games to play in small groups, like jump rope, dodgeball, four-square, sidewalk chalk, hopscotch, bubbles, etc.), or a Potluck Lunch, Dinner, or Picnic.
  • Babysitting time: This could be an evening date night, or a daytime event so parents can accomplish errands or just have a break. This WILL REQUIRE some adults to have background checks/fingerprinting, though likely some parish members will already have this through their jobs (i.e. teachers, nurses, etc.) or as a requirement to volunteer at their kids’ schools. Teens/youth groups can be great to include to bring energy and engagement to the event, but ADULT SUPERVISION MUST BE PROVIDED at all times. It might be fun to have a theme for the event: “Kickball and a Craft” or “Puzzles and Pizza”; or see if a local business, like a karate or dance studio, might donate an hour to lead an activity.
  • Make a Meal: this could be a one-time meal, i.e. everyone makes up a pot of chili and a meal is delivered to each foster family – or Teams could set up a regular schedule of making meals for the foster families, once or twice a month. Make sure to become familiar with families’ different dietary restrictions before you get started.
  • Host a Party! For Christmas or another special event, or just because, invite all your foster families to a party event with food, music, games, maybe some entertainment – an opportunity to get out of the house and make fun memories together!
  • Craft Time: put together the items needed for a craft that would be fun for kids (you may want one craft for elementary-school-aged kids and a second one for older kids, or find something that adapts well to different age groups). Deliver individual bags to each child with the items they will need, and instructions. Crafts could be themed around an event (like Advent or Thanksgiving) or a picture book or Bible story (which you would also include in the package). For extra engagement, you could have families sign up for a Zoom meeting and have a member of your Foster Team (or two) read the story and lead the craft virtually – which might give their foster parents a nice break on a weeknight!

MATERIAL GOODS

In addition to the basics mentioned above (food, clothes, gift cards), Teams can provide…

  • Collect donations for foster families Book Boxes: donated, gently used books, organized into boxes/crates by age/reading level. Teams could deliver a box (or two) to a family with the appropriate materials, leave them for a set number of weeks, then pick them up and distribute them to a new family. Children could be encouraged to pick one or two favorites to keep! In addition to books, the boxes could include workbooks, puzzle books, coloring books, ideas for craft projects or science experiments, DVDs, etc. 
  • Care packages: These can be great organized around a theme. Cozy Care Package for the winter season with hot cocoa and popcorn packs, seasonal book or movie, slippers or socks; Easter Basket with goodies and a special stuffed animal; Summer Fun with kids’ sunscreen, sun hat, gift card for an ice cream shop or similar, sunglasses; Back To School; Fall Fun (apples and pears, hats and scarves…); Movie Night with DVD or gift card for digital rental/subscription, popcorn and popcorn buckets, cozy blanket. Note: Care packages can be focused around the child, but alternatively can be for the whole family; this will show foster parents how much their work is appreciated, and give them an opportunity to make special memories with their kids.
  • “Christmas Angels” or a “Giving Tree” for Christmastime: foster parents submit names, ages, and short wishlists for each child, and church members each select one or two children to shop for. Set a reasonable price limit. 

OTHER IDEAS

  • Adopt a Family for Lent: Springs of Love Team volunteers can each select one family to pray for, or do a special fast for, during Lent. End Lent with a special Easter Basket for the family! Get more ideas from our article on Fostering Love for Lent.
  • Adopt a Family for Advent: Springs of Love Team volunteers can each select one family to pray for during Advent, and for each Sunday of Advent they can send their family a special note, ornament, small gift, box of cookies, or other seasonal token. End Advent with a special card or gift for Christmas!

EVERYONE CAN HELP!

  • Some activities are intended for a core group of volunteers (the Springs of Love Team), but others can involve the whole parish! Encourage everyone to get involved with things like a drive to collect school supplies, or donating used books for Book Boxes.
  • Other activities are great for getting Sunday School or youth groups involved! Think of how different age groups can benefit from performing these acts of service. Teens could wrap the presents for the Giving Tree, lead activities at a Playground Party, or deejay and plan games for a holiday party. Younger kids can help with assembling care packages once the supplies have been collected, or could even vote on the theme for the next Play Date activity!
Parish Involvement - Everyone can help