1. Ask the question! what can we do to help. Ask your local council, if you can’t get to the Mayor then ask the “City Life Directors” most councils have them and they are in charge of all sorts of projects and events across your local area. Simply make an appointment and ask where they need support, you will be surprised by their appreciation of your concern and desire. Or if not council ask your local service providers in your area where you are needed to help them.
2. Pick a significant event in your area and offer your support with volunteers. Almost everyone who is running an event like carols, fairs, fun runs, is always looking for volunteers it does not matter if you have one or two to offer or 50 people they always are appreciated.
3. Collect food or clothing for local charity’s especially around Christmas time they are always needing support. It is always better to contact them first and find out what they specifically need more of before you start collecting.
4. Contact your local schools and ask them if you can help them with supplying school essentials for students whose parents are struggling to give their children school bags and uniforms, exercise books, pens and pencils for the new year. We did this a few years running and found every school has students that they are trying to support and it is a beautiful way to really show practical love and support for families in your community and build a great relationship with your local schools.
5. Make a connection with any hospitals in your area and ask them if you can give presents this Christmas to families who have a sick child and are doing it tough. It does not have to be hundreds sometimes a more generous gift for one or two families has a better impact than a lot of cheap toys to many families.
6. Typically the loneliest and forgotten people in our communities are the elderly. It is a fact that a lot of elderly people sit week in week out with out meaningful visits or interaction. This is an area that is always appreciated by nursing homes and retirement complexes. Contact them and ask them how your church can be involved.
7. Pick a Charity or even a family in need or distress and find out how your whole church could be involved in helping them on one day. It could be a clean-up of a home or area in the community or a day where a local charity is doing some event or function and needs help. This sort of approach has a great impact and helps your community understand that you are interested in things outside of your church walls. It could become an annual event that you organise to support someone or something different every year.