Looking for Ideas for Do-it-Yourself Service Projects

volunteer service

I’m looking for ideas for “do-it-yourself” service projects—things that can be done on site at the parish with 20 or 30 adult volunteers in a couple of hours. One such idea, albeit quite ambitious, is the Helping Hands project from Catholic Relief Services. This requires 40 volunteers and a minimum of two hours to package 10,000 meals!

For the upcoming Year of Mercy, I hope to work with a local parish to organize opportunities for adults to gather (ideally when their children are attending religious education classes) to participate in mercy experiences (formerly known as service projects) in which they gather, create, assemble, package, organize, etc. “things” that can be of real assistance to those in need.

What ideas or resources can you point me to?

About Joe Paprocki 2569 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

14 Comments on Looking for Ideas for Do-it-Yourself Service Projects

  1. Suggest the “Shoebox” project for the homeless. Shoe boxes will be filled with toiletries–basic necessities the homeless can use and add some cookies, chips and The Word Among Us.

  2. We have a local organization, kidsfoodbasket.org is in great need of decorated lunch bags for the 6500 daily ‘sack meals’ they provide. Even though you are not local to West MI, you could decorate bags and send them to kidsfoodbasket. Parents could be encouraged to write a note on a bag as if it were their child receiving the sack meal. (I would really like to read what they would say!).

  3. We had done with our parish and our jr high PSR students “Birthday Boxes” for local food pantries. The food pantries give these Birthday Boxes to those who have birthdays when using the food pantry.

    We asked parishioners for donations of boxes of cake mix, container of ready-made icing, box of birthday candles, generic birthday cards for two weeks. Then we asked local grocery stores for donations of small bakery cake boxes. And then had the jr high students put together the “Birthday Boxes” (one cake mix, one icing, one candles and one card) and they decorated the outside of the box and put expiration dates on outside of boxes. We did this in celebration of our 150th “birthday” of our parish….we donated 175 birthday boxes to three local food pantries. This can be made as BIG or as small as you would want! The students LOVED it and the parishioners were excited to participate and the food pantries were ECSTATIC with the Birthday Boxes for their pantry participants!!

  4. Another great service idea is Operation Christmas Child, which is operated by Samaritan’s Purse. It involves packing shoebox gifts for underprivileged children throughout the world.

  5. At our parish along with making sandwiches for “Loaves and Fishes”, we also make hygiene kits consisting of a toothbrush, toothpaste, bar soap and deodorant and pack them in a zip lock bag for distribution after the meal is done. Our population we serve is the homeless and those less fortunate and they love these kits. We collect these items from our parishoners and/or seek product donations for these kits. Next year we are adding shampoo. Hope this is helpful.

  6. Jared Boxes for children who have cancer. thejaredbox.com
    Boxes are filled with games and toys to give children who have cancer during a hospital.

  7. Looking forward to the ideas others share. What about a partnership with local nursing home to make cards for residents? (seasonal greetings or general notes). One Christmas we made placemats (just large construction paper ) and drew pictures and wrote notes to residents of the nursing home. They loved them. I took lots of photos of them and shared them on social media that year….they made great little posts to share.

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