Everyone plays a different role at church. Some people have more well-defined service roles, such as the pastor or worship leader. Others serve according to their talents and interests. One area of service that can include everyone, regardless of their knowledge, skills or experience, is the assembly of care packages. These parcels can be used in a variety of ways to draw people together and further the work of the church.
There are many different kinds of care packages you can send, and they all serve different purposes. Once you get the basic process of putting them together, though, you can adapt it easily to each new project. Having a common planning phase also assists with organizing helpers and giving clear instructions. Each project should begin with the following steps:
- Articulate your purpose. Why are you putting together this group of care packages? Are they meant to simply encourage the recipients or do they achieve some practical end?
- Choose a theme. What is the main subject matter of the package? Is there a particular message you want the gift to convey?
- Set a budget. How many care packages are you making? What is the total amount you have available to spend?
- Select the items. What gifts show your purpose and message the best? Are the packages going to contain an assortment of many small things or a few larger, specialized items?
- Decide on presentation. Are you going to decorate the packages or keep them simple? Do you want to include the church's name and contact information on the package?
- Establish a timeline. When will the project start and end? What date will you deliver them, and who is responsible for doing so?
Of course, if you are partnering with another organization that has already made all these decisions, you will merely follow its lead. When you start a care package ministry at your church, however, you will need to know the answers to all these questions before you begin each project.
The factor that is likely to determine many of the process planning stages is the group of people to whom you are giving the packages. Having specific recipients is what sets care packages apart from general donation drives. Each individual in the group will receive something, so it's important to know exactly how many people to plan for and know their specific needs or preferences. For example, a general food drive can include a wide variety of grocery items that any family could use. However, if you are specifically putting together weekend packages for kids, they should be limited to foods that school-age children can prepare for themselves and their younger siblings, such as microwaveable macaroni and cheese, soup or pasta with easy-open lids, applesauce and fruit cups. If you are mailing packages to the college students whose parents attend your church, try to find out what their favorite snacks are so that you can tailor each package to the individual student.
A particular occasion may be the impetus that drives your project. Yearly events such as the start of the school year, graduation, holidays and seasons can help you establish a clear deadline for making sure all the packages get to their destinations on time. If your group is just starting out, you may consider centering your first few projects around certain occasions to assist with organization and help you find interested participants.
Most people join a church not just to have a place where they belong but also to give back to their community. Assembling and distributing care packages is a way that everyone can get involved, even if they have no former volunteer experience. This ministry meets the needs of people who participate in it just as much as it helps those who receive from it.