Category Archives: single parents

101 Ways -Parents Night Out

It is not easy being a parent. It is the busiest time of your life. What parent could not use some respite? And who better to offer a night out than the local church. This is a great way to mobilize the young people, seniors and adults together to have a fun night for children while parents go out and have an enjoyable evening. Here are some considerations:

Pick a good night – Friday evenings are great. It may be once, every two months, September, November, January, March and May.  Perhaps once a quarter to get you started.

Convenient hours – You want to be open early enough so parents can drop off the children and then not to late so the kids can get to bed. 5:30 – 9:30 is a good format.

Dinner and snacks – The purpose of 5:30 is so most families would have time to bring their children in time for dinner at 6:00. A modest charge of $5.00 per child would cover all the costs and save the parents a lot of money for a sitter and food. A snack time could be at 8:30.  A healthy dinner and snacks, being careful of food allergies, would be welcome by the families.

A lot of fun – Kids have energy so you want to plan great activities. There should be the big three. Age appropriate play time, craft time and story time.

Tell about other events – This is a great way to let families know about other family friendly events at the church. Give them a flyer, brochure or newsletter informing them about other children’s programs, parenting classes, education opportunities, sermon series and other fun events coming up.

Child protection – This is key. Parents want a safe environment for the children. Follow common child protection policies for churches and day care facilities. Adult child ratios, bathroom supervision, background checks, emergency procedures all make for a safe and pleasant time for the children and parents.

Get a team together and start dreaming how you could serve your community with a Parents Night Out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hunger – Food Shelter

If your church is large enough or in an area where there are sufficient amount of people needing assistance with food, you may want to consider a food pantry. The size would depend on the need and the availability of other assistance. If you are just looking to help those in your own church and their network, you may only need a moderate size pantry. If you are going to open it up to the public, depending on the number of other pantries in the area, you may need a larger pantry. What should you stock? When planning a food pantry it is good to know what to buy or ask donors for. If allowed, people will donate many kinds of odd foods. It helps if you can create a list based around six basic groups. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, toiletries, paper supplies and necessary clothing. Also you need to determine how often you will be using the pantry. If occasional use by those that drop by or are in need in congregation then set up an area for mainly can goods and boxed goods that will keep. If there are weekly pick-ups you may want to add things that you can refrigerate. If there is daily traffic you may want to include an area with fresh donated food. 

Here are some of the basics: 

Breakfast – STORED: This is crucial, especially for children and seniors. Cereals, breakfast bars, dried milk, fruit juices, coffee and tea. REFRIGERATION: Eggs, milk, cheeses, some meats. DAILY: Pastries and baked goods.  

LunchSTORED: Peanut butter & jelly, tuna fish, canned meats, meals in a can, i.e., Spaghetti-O’s, stews, hash, ravioli, soups, condiments for sandwiches, crackers and cookies. REFRIGERATION: Cold cuts, lunch meats, cheese, eggs, milk and some meats. DAILY: Prepared food for reheating and sandwiches. 

Dinner – STORED: Canned fruits & vegetables, beans, pasta, rice, sauces, canned tomatoes and tomato sauce. Canned meats, soups and meals. Jello and pudding. Box and jar baby food. REFRIGERATION: Cold cuts, cheese, milk and some meats. Casseroles and precooked meals. DAILY: Prepared food for reheating. 

Toiletries – Soap, shampoo, conditioners, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant and foot powder.

Paper supplies – Toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, diapers, and handi-wipes.
 Necessary clothing
– Underwear, socks, tee-shirts, clothes, warm coats and hats. 

If you, or someone in your church is seriously interested in having a ministry like this, I would encourage you to make a few calls and find out what other churches or agencies are doing. Ask them for help and find out what the true need in your area.

What are you and/or your church doing to help with hunger? Go above to Share How You Are Making A Difference and let us know. Also go to our BOOKSTORE to find books that can help your church make a difference!  

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It’s getting harder to be a single parent

I was talking to a woman today on the phone. It was her birthday and I called her to wish her well. I could tell she was down and we started to talk about her needs.

She is divorced and the father hasn’t been much help. She was laid off her job. She is trying to sell her house but the market is down. She had to dip into her 401 saving program to make it during Christmas.

I sat there on the other end of the phone listening with my heart aching and yet not knowing what to do that very moment. What would you do? What would your church do? That is what this blog is about. We have to find some answers.

Single women raising children is the fastest growing poverty demographic in America. Every church has pews full of women in this kind of situation. What are we doing about it? What can we do? Here are a few things I can think of:

Have a food pantry, have a support group, have a list of referral agencies that can help, offer budgeting, have a daycare that can discount prices on a sliding scale, increase your benevolent budget, have a job source constantly updated, do job training, find or create affordable housing, create part- time jobs that pay well,  help them with legal help to get the father involved with support, work with other churches and agencies to address these and other issues. At Calvary we have started Calvary Charities to address some of these issues.

In the Bible, James writes in James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” Could a single woman trying to raise children in America be our “widow”?

What have you and your church been doing? Let us know.