MFW User Ideas for Service Projects

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MFW User Ideas for Service Projects

Unread post by Jami »

I have four children and I'd really like to get involved with community service type projects with them. They are young, 7, 4, 2, and soon to be a newborn in the picture. What are some things that you all do with young children that they can SEE that they are helping others?

I used to do Meals on Wheels with my grandma as a child but just don't know if I could commit to something like that with how crazy things will be.
We are moving, so it wouldn't be until the new school year that we'd be ready to commit anyways.

I've heard of people going to nursing homes, what do you do when you're there? Do you just say, "Hey, we want to help out somehow." It's possible I could do something with my two older sons in the evenings and leave the toddler and baby home with my hubby, or even all of us go, including hubby.

I really want service to God's people to be a part of their whole lives, I guess I just need ideas about what we could do as a family and how to get started. Any out there?

[ Editor's Note: Also see this thread: ]
Jami - AF Wife

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Unread post by Mercy »

Hi Jami,

God has been putting this on my heart as well. I keep thinking nursing home, but I'm feeling the same way as you. What do you do there?? I've thought of crafts, but we are really not a very crafy family. The thought of trying to do crafts or something along those lines just kind of makes me stress. Any other ideas?

Thanks for bringing this topic up. I know it's been discussed before somewhere, I'm just not sure where.

Wife to Superman
Mother to 8yob, 3yog & 3mob
started in ECC, switched to ADV
"The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom." H.W. Beecher

Unread post by cbollin »

Lots of ideas. And it is ok to do things that are what you want to do with the passions and gifts that God has given you. Ideas and how it will be done will change as your family grows in size and gets older. It’s ok for just one parent to take the older kids for a project. Think small and doable. As you go about your regular day, ask God to show you the little intersections in your life where you can get started. It doesn’t always have to be the “ big stuff”.

You asked about nursing home ideas:
My opinion is that it helps if you already know someone who lives in one whether it is a relative or someone from church. Go visit them once a week. When my husband’s grandfather was living the nursing home just before he died, several of the family members who lived nearby would just go visit Grandpa Jim. One of them would take her little preschoolers and decorate Grandpa’s room with crafts. Sometimes people wonder what to do with those Kindergarten badges…..

Then my MIL started a once a month game card at the nursing home. Grandpa loved playing cards, and so did the other residents. Or at least they liked to be around everyone. My MIL worked with the staff to find a Saturday afternoon or Friday evening.

Ok… I wasn’t involved in going to the nursing home stuff because I lived out of state. And I just don’t like doing stuff like that. Nothing wrong with it, but it’s just not me. Just trying to be honest. My husband and oldest daughter sometimes go along with the elders from our church to deliver communion to shut ins. But I stay home with the other two.

So, here are some things that we have been able to do as a family or as some of our family. (In other words, dad took the older kids and I stayed home. Or the other way around.) And just a bunch of ideas that I have seen other friends do with their children. I don’t claim that I do all of these. Please don’t think that.

*there is a community food bank in town that we can sort cans of food. (We don’t go every week or month on that. But the opportunity is there to do that. We try to go when we can.)
*My girls have participated in Walk a Thons, and Read a thons. We’ve raised money for places like local Christian maternity home. We’ve raised money for printing Bibles in other languages. Usually these are community driven things and we just go along.
*One friend of mine did a fundraiser selling flower bulbs through Dutch Mill or something like that. They donated the money to translate Bibles in other parts of the world.
*Can you just clean up a local park or playground together and do this regularly?
*How about at your church – are there little things that all of you can do together? At my church my girls help fold the chairs and put them away after service.
*one family at our church cleans the church buses every week.
*Does your church need any regular office volunteer work (folding bulletins, setting up chairs, putting the chairs away, greeting people as they enter the building, etc.)
*Does your church have a newsletter where they list all of the upcoming birthdays and anniversaries? There is one man in our church (he is in his upper 70’s) who sends a birthday card and anniversary card to every person on the list. Maybe your family can get a bunch of cards, or draw them yourselves and send them to people.
*Know any missionaries from your church or that your church sponsors? Maybe they would like to receive cards or pictures or even the Sunday newspaper comics?

Posted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:06 pm
The Lord equips all of us with different gifts and passions. Spend time praying to ask Him to open your eyes to what you are passionate about and how He will use your gifts to help. We are one body with many parts. Again… we’ve done some of these and some are just ideas….

* My family has been able to regularly buy and prepare personal care packages for disaster relief. (check with the local Red Cross in your area for that information.) Then as you do your regular grocery and supply shopping, you can pick up an extra tube of toothpaste, or bar of soap or washcloth and keep it separate. Your kids will remind you.

* A lady at our church who is an RN sometimes goes on missions trip. We gather supplies that she needs. (same thing as above--- mom, look! Some of the things we bought for Michele’s trip are on sale. Should we go ahead and get them now?)

* Maybe your local animal shelter has some volunteer work?

* Does your local newspaper have a listing of Community Volunteer activities? We live in a mid size town and every Monday the paper lists groups that are looking for looking for help. Many times they welcome families.

* Dawn mentioned God’s Word for the Nations. Check here for more information about that
Lots of families (and co-ops) around the nation have found all kinds of ways to do fundraisers to help support translation projects.

* Is there a Ronald McDonald House in a city near you? They have regular service opportunities for families? Check their website for more information.

* On our kitchen wall we keep newsletters of missionaries we support. And we pray together for those missionaries Never underestimate that praying together is a service.

* My older girls shovel snow from the sidewalks especially in front of the neighborhood mailboxes.

* Maybe you or your husband are really into politics and are passionate about a candidate. Maybe there are ways you can help with the campaign? (local, state, national, whatever)

* Maybe your state homeschool convention needs helpers????

* Just remembered another one that one of my local friends does.... Her family cleans the bathrooms and waiting areas at the local crisis pregnancy center. That way the CPC staff can be devoted to answering phones and serving clients.

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Unread post by dhudson »

Hi Jami,

I have had the blessing of being in a church with very service minded people who have been able to mentor us and these are some of the things we've done.

Gone on a family missions trip to Mexico ( which was amazing! We're going again in November! Can't wait!

Feed the homeless once a month with a church that has a regular homeless ministry. As a family, we also regularly make money and donate food to a food bank. My kids love going shopping to buy things with money they've made themselves.

Made shoeboxes and sent them with Operation Christmas Child. I have my children each earn enough money to stuff the boxes with two or three things then we fill in the rest. They each do their own box, which they love.

Sponsor a child with Compassion International and my kids regularly send pictures and letters to Pooja, our Indian child.

Also, MFW has a non-profit sister organization, God's Word for the Nations, that helps to fund Bible Translation in Russia. My kids are doing lemonade stands and saving money to send to help Bibles get translated.

I know I've had to have help with ideas and these are some of our favorites. Hope they help!

Julie in MN
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Nursing homes

Unread post by Julie in MN »

I'm just going to share some nursing home experience. There are TONS of other ways to do service, but I just so happen to have a lot of experience with service at nursing homes. I was a Girl Scout leader for 11 years, and we met at a nursing home for many of those years. I also did nursing home service in other ways over the years.

The first thing is that nursing homes vary a lot. Some have lots of money, some have lots of help, some have a great activity director, and so on. Contacting the activity director is the best way to scope out a nursing home. The things she gets excited about will definitely be a good clue as to what will work in that particular setting. She will also know the rules -- you may be required to have Mantoux testing or have a security check... sadly an issue these days.

Here are some of the things we did at a very poor nursing home with a very open-minded activity director:

* Just have a group meeting there, and invite residents to attend if they want something to do. They especially enjoy recitations such as the Pledge of Allegiance, and snacks (you will have to get advice on individual dietary issues from the activity director). The kids can also just do things like their own craft. Sometimes that craft could indirectly also be helping the nursing home -- such as sensory aprons we made for the Alzheimer's floor.

* Choose a simple craft that the residents could help the children with -- and make sure there are enough for each resident to keep their own.

* Play simple games that only require arms, such as bouncing a ball around a group or tossing a hoop over a cone. Activity directors often have the supplies on hand.

* Decorate the bulletin boards in the hallways as residents watch the kids & get a kick out of it. Again, the activity director may have these materials.

* Do "family" type stuff that residents miss, and invite residents to just sit around and recall their home days. For example, decorate their little Christmas trees in late November -- the residents just enjoy watching the kids discuss it with one another & make mistakes etc. Or, wear costumes and "trick-or-treat" from room to room in the fall (the activity director can give them treats to give your kids, or you can donate a bag -- with her permission).

* Have each child/adult bring a pet and knock on doors and ask if they would like to visit with the pet. Some caution is needed, since animals are unpredictable & kids don't always realize that, but most of the residents are grown-ups with pet experience :o)

* "Adopt" a grandparent as their frequent visitor or even a penpal, or both. One of my Girl Scouts was autistic & she continued a long friendship with a fellow who was very intelligent but could not communicate except to read. He couldn't even motion -- but he could shed a tear or two... Again, the activity director may know of a person in need of a friend.

* Write cards or letters and include a lot of the child's own handwriting and possibly even photos. Make sure it definitely looks like it was from a child, not a crafty card that an adult may have done. Children's work may be taped on residents walls for a very long time!

* Bring a toddler and let them toddle around the lounge and hall for a bit. My youngest entertained many a resident that way :o)

* Perform at holidays other than Christmas, such as Valentine's Day, Flag Day, or Veterans Day. Patriotic songs and such are very well received, also again the Pledge of Allegiance. But also just general kid stuff like skits or puppet shows. Coach the kids to speak up, but don't worry about making them perfect, because residents will enjoy the mistakes. Let other guests give the lovely, perfect performances.

Some words of warning or reality checks:

* Be aware that your audience may seem very small. Residents are often ill, tired, etc. But even those who just see a minute or so of the goings-on may talk about it for weeks.

* Don't fuss over your children being perfect guests. Some kids may not warm up to the residents as much as you'd hoped, but the residents will enjoy seeing them talk and play and just be kids. And the kids will remember the "great thing" they did.

* Don't be afraid to make your visit short. It may seem like residents have hours and hours of empty time on their hands, but in their condition, often something very short wears them out.

* Earlier is generally better. Although if your only choice is evenings, there will probably be a couple of night-owls who appreciate the distraction.

There are a couple of things I would avoid at nursing homes:

* Don't bring kids to things the residents are trying very hard to hear/focus on, such as Bingo games(!) or movies.

* I wouldn't put much time into Christmas visits. Tons of groups flock to nursing homes at Christmas time, never to be seen again for another year.
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Unread post by 705emily »

I run a local homeless shelter (one for women and children, one for men, and we also have a shelter for kids (age 12-17) some of whom are homeless, others who have been abused, neglected, or in trouble with the law.

One thing that is always very helpful is to have people do a toiletries drive for the shelters. Families/individuals coming into the shelter always need soap, toothbrushes, razors, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, etc.

Another thing that is helpful--is for older kids to tutor some of the younger kids--and to go and play games with them.

Just a couple of ideas!
Irmi Gaut

Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

More than a year ago, God began putting the desire in my heart to have my kids learn what it means to be the 'hands & feet' of Christ. I knew I had specific burdens to certain ministries, but there didn't seem to be any open doors in those areas. I began praying that God would open my eyes & show me where our whole family could begin to work together & serve in whatever way He desired.

Just a few weeks, maybe months(?) later, we became acquainted with a lady in our church who is (to some degree) mentally challenged, was injured & had no transportation & was desperately in need of friendship, love & help. As we have developed a relationship with her, we have been so blessed (though it has also been quite difficult at times)! One day each week, we take her to a meeting two counties over. While she's there, the children & I hole up in a study room in the local library & do school. After her meeting, we have lunch & head back to town & run errands with her ~ Wal-smarts, the post office, etc. It's a long day, but the children get it. They know that their sacrifice is blessing someone who needs the Body to be the Body. Also, my husband & some of the other men in the church have been able to help out with 'man stuff' around her house. God has truly provided a 'family ministry' for us. Ms. H is receiving much needed assistance, and on our end, we have been reminded that people are not projects to be done, but individuals with whom a relationship can be built & nurtured.

I share this to say PRAY. Everybody isn't called to nursing homes or the pregnancy resource center. Everybody isn't called to the type of thing we've felt called to. But God can put opportunities right under our noses. Opportunities that will work in the midst of the homeschooling life. Pray for His vision to see where to place your feet. He will certainly meet you there.
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Unread post by Debbie M. »

A few more ideas:

-helping at the Botanical Center. (Each year our botanical Center holds a morning open house to show all the areas one can volunteer for, such as helping with the Butterfly area or helping at plant sales.)

-helping organize books for the public library booksales or shelving books at the library.

Debbie M.
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Unread post by donutmom »

Some ideas from our home with younger children.

One way we've found to serve at church. . . we sharpen and replace the pencils in the church auditorium. The church supplies the pencils, but they (the staff) just don't have the time to do it. We do a section of the auditorium every couple weeks. My 3 year old loves helping with this, so it's a great project for all the kids. The older ones sharpen at home, and they all can work at church. We also fill the cards that are kept in the pews. Ask at the church office, or look around for a need. We went to use the pencils during the service for a couple weeks in a row, and they were either dull, broken, or missing. That's how the idea came to us, so we inquired. (Funny how God works, but when we asked, the secretary got quite an odd expression on her face. She told us they had just discussed the pencil issue in the weekly staff meeting--knowing there was a need to be addressed, but didn't know what to do about it. Then we walk in the next day in to ask if we can take care of pencils. Cool, huh?!!) Perhaps you can find some small overlooked need. Cleaning toys for the church is often a need, and kids can help there--even if to just move the toys from the cabinets to the cleaning area, then put them away.

Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. They each fill a box for a child their own age. (FYI--We buy things at back-to-school sales for them--when pencils, crayons, markers, etc. are super cheap!!) Have child write a note or draw a picture to include in the box. Pray for the boy or girl who will receive the box.

Buy diapers for the local pregnancy crisis center. And pray for the baby who will wear them and the mother.

Filling grocery bags at Thanksgiving & Christmas for the local food pantry's giving of meals. At this point going to a food shelter to serve food is out of the question, but whenever they do a special occasion request, we go shopping. Pray for the family who will receive the bag.

Think close to home--being neighborly. So many people do not know their neighbors. We are surrounded by singles and olders, so there are different "little" ways to serve (I don't think there's any "little" when it comes to serving.) Even occasional things like playing with the neighbor's grandchildren when they come to visit, have blessed our neighbors.

Serving can come in so many subtle ways. Leaving a place nicer than when you arrive. For example, . . . Picking up toys at the doctors office that were left out in the middle of the floor by previous patients. (yup, we were just at the doctor twice this week!). Putting the grocery cart away that was left in the parking lot.

And serving within your own family is a great start for younger (& older) children. Leaving your bathroom tidy for the next person. Calling grandparents & great grandparents on the phone, or writing them notes or sending pictures that were drawn--and that can be done altogether.

And I agree with Crystal about prayer as a service. We can have no idea the effect of our service through prayer! But here and there God has blessed us by our hearing about a result, and what joy. Then we get to praise God!

Boy, did this get long. I'm sorry. I'm feeling rambly. I had some caffeine at supper, and caffeine and I do not mix well. (Or maybe we mix too well, as my whole being gets effected!!!!) Sleep must come eventually. . . after the jitters and hyperness. . . :-)

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Unread post by southernshae »

When my 4 were your children's ages there was so much that I wanted to do .....and I would often get discouraged because actually doing the ministry things I wanted would seem impossible. You know, the logistics of even getting everyone together in the van ........

You have gotten so many great suggestions (and they've given me ideas), but I also wanted to put this one out there:

When you arrive /settle in your new place, perhaps pick out an elderly single (or couple) at church and sort of "dote" on them. You can call them, take them to the grocery store, have your children draw/write cards when they're ill, or perhaps give them a ride to church. I'm sure the pastor of your new church would have someone in mind if you asked. We have a special lady my kids have "adopted" and it thrills her when my kids see her at church and give her special hugs. She was recently in the nursing home for therapy and we visited her there.

One thing that my family does (I don't think I could have pulled it off when they were younger, though :) ) is have a "senior lunch" at church each month. I plan and cook a light meal for all of the seniors.....they just come and fellowship with each other. ( The church pays for the food). My dc are in ps, so they help out more with everything in the summer, but during the school year the dc set up the tables and try to make them look nice the night before( I have them roll up the silverware in napkins, etc. ). In the summer, my kids take them their plates and help fill their drink cups. The night before, my dd calls each senior on the phone to remind them about the lunch the next day. We enjoy this very much......again, something I really couldn't do until the kids were older, but wanted to throw this out there for anyone else looking for ministry ideas.

4 dc (3 in ps, 1 dc at home)
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Unread post by RobinF »

You have gotten alot of great ideas. A couple of things I can think of are:

To do care packages for the military.

Another idea for an assisted living home is to go in and have a devotional time. You could sing some hymns and then read a short devotional. Or call the activity director and find out what they would enjoy. My dh is a pastor and he goes to an assisted living home each week with our 2 oldest boys and does a devotional. They sing 3 or 4 old hymns and then he does a devotional for them.

Collecting crafts supplies for a local children's hospital or putting together some type of craft kits.

I remember reading a while back about a person that started collecting/buying baking supplies for eldery women on fixed incomes. They delivered these before the holidays so these women who enjoyed baking would have the supplies to do that.

How about making a meal each week for an elderly man in your community church.

If you can crochet or knit that are agencies that collect miniture blankets for premie babies and stillbirths. We were blessed with this when we lost our first baby. He was born at 22 weeks and when they brought him to us he was wrapped in a small blanket and had a tiny hat.
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Library Service Project

Unread post by sojen »

I just stopped by my library to pick up my book basket books and they were signing up volunteers, people to help out at the library a few hours a week. They said they had gotten a huge response! I thought this was an awesome idea, and hopefully a way to get us through this recession. The library is such a blessing to me.
Jen in GA
mom to dd 11, dd 8, and ds 5
traveling through the medieval world with RTR.
Slowly starting kindergarten with my little guy.
Julie in MN
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Re: Library Service Project

Unread post by Julie in MN »

sojen wrote:I just stopped by my library to pick up my book basket books and they were signing up volunteers, people to help out at the library a few hours a week. They said they had gotten a huge response! I thought this was an awesome idea, and hopefully a way to get us through this recession. The library is such a blessing to me.
Yes, this thread made me notice something at a library we just visited. They had a sign on each row of shelves stating who had volunteered to organize that particular shelf. What a great idea for service in a needy library!
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Another Activity Question?

Unread post by samandsawyersmom »

gratitude wrote:What activities have benefited your home school the most? I keep thinking that I want to integrate service into our home school at some point. My oldest needs more social interaction.

I can see how we could easily be very busy; thus, far we have not been. I can also see how I could end up struggling to get school done if we do a lot. I realize every child has different needs. However, I still think it would be helpful to hear about what activities others have used that they have found to be beneficial to their home school? What activities have you done that was time well used?
As for the service part of the coin. . . in a co-op you could teach a service class and make it whatever you want for your kiddos age! That's the best part of a co-op you get to have input as to what gets taught cause you usually are required to help out in some way and that could get you what you want! And they are usually a low cost way of getting in some good educational "friend time" also known as socialization! ;)

God Bless you and yours!
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Re: Another Activity Question?

Unread post by Dusenkids »

For us, troops are really close to our hearts so we make cards and send them to the local legion. Hubby’s dad, was also in the service, passes them out for us. We try to make a bunch and then send them around Memorial Day, 4th, Veterans Day, Christmas… We also mail them to people we know that are currently serving. When they get older (my oldest is only 5 now) we would like to do more Salvation Army/Habitat for Humanity activities. But right now, this works for us (time and age wise). And the kids love it. And I can use up some of the scrapbooking supplies that I never get to anymore! ;)
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My daughter's service project

Unread post by ilovemy4kids »

Thought you might like to see photos of one of my daughters individual service projects this year that she coordinated! 38 baby quilts for Lydia's Hope which supplies the preemie babies at a local hospital with all cotton handmade quilts. They snuggle the babies and cover the incubator beds. She is an American Heritage girl and this year put in over 100 service hours. :) So proud of her! This is my just turned 14 who will be a freshman next year.


Postby ilovemy4kids » Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:43 pm
Aww...thanks ladies!

This past year she did the quilts, tutoring at our local homeless shelter, and salvation army tree kid (she made clothes and such and bought baby dolls and made gift baskets for two girls off the tree).

Here are the baby baskets

We are trying to figure out what to do for her freshman year service project. If you have any ideas let us know. She likes to make people smile. :-)
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Re: My daughter's service project

Unread post by Mom2theteam »

That is wonderful! Those are really great! I got a quilt just like that for one of my twin when he was in the NICU. I thought it was a really special gift and keepsake. :-)

Great job by your daughter!
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Re: My daughter's service project

Unread post by NJCheryl »

So great! My son was in the NICU this past December and we received a quilt. It really brightened my day when the cart of quilts came rolling in and I got to choose one.

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Re: My daughter's service project

Unread post by proud2bmykswife »

Project Linus makes blankets for seriously ill or traumatized children.
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Letter writing as service

Unread post by deltagal »

cbollin wrote:*do you have a way to make things like the "letter writing" in MFW manuals (on some Fridays) into something that serves? Oh, it could be something like writing to a sponsored child (like with a group such as compassion).
This is a bit of an aside, but it's interesting you should mention this Crystal, because in truth what caught my eye about MFW in the first place several years ago was I saw the curriculum and company as a tool to help our family fulfill a vision of working, studying, serving. And the letter writing was the beginning of that, since then it has grown in to other things; but my pull back to MFW is my desire to be in company with others who share this vision.

The question I keep asking is "what is God's vision for our family?"
With Joy!

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Parent service while homeschooling?

Unread post by mamakathy »

deltagal wrote:Now, here's the of the joys of MFW is encouraging us and our children to have a servant's heart. How are the rest of you serving and homeschooling?
I have served the church in the past by doing admin work for the pastor from home, but even that seemed too much when I was faced with my first year of homeschooling so I stepped down.

We also participate in the Cupcake Kids, a fundraiser for Sixty Feet. We love this ministry & its a great way to involve the kiddos. I don't know if we are allowed to link other websites here so I won't, but if anyone is interested you could google it. We are actually making the cupcakes today and the kids raised over $300 this year! (We collected orders rather than having a stand this year.)

Off to bake!

PS Sixty feet serves the imprisoned children of Uganda, so it would be a great way to incorporate a service project into ECC during the Africa studies.
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Re: Parent service while homeschooling?

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Ways I have served...

I am on the "Christian Education" board for my church and teach Sunday School and usually am the primary planner/teacher for what we do over the summer in our Sunday School (our church is relatively small).

I have served on our HOA board (though conflict with dance schedules have required that I step down).

I still do the Welcome Committee - visiting new residents once a month, providing cookies and information about the neighborhood. Oldest often joins me for this.

I help with our church Women's Committee.

I helped a little with our homeschool group's geography fair this year.

I am a moderator for the yahoo ECC group, and a digital scrapping website's forum.

Yep... lots of ways to serve the community and homeschool. Next year my oldest will probably help in the AWANA club we go to (not hosted by our church). My husband serves there, and is treasurer for our church. Oh, and he teaches middle-school Sunday School on occasion.

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
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2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
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Re: MFW User Ideas for Service Projects

Unread post by kwm488 »

Hi, new from Australia and looking for the handmade quilt plus quilt cover, any idea? I have just check the found brands quilt covers but not handmade!
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