A few weeks ago, our West Michigan Bloggers group decided to use half of our monthly meeting time to do some service work for kids in our community. Instead of talking about SEO or WordPress plug-ins, we made a few thousand sandwiches.
Like my son did for his birthday, we volunteered at Kids Food Basket, a local organization that serves sack suppers to 2500 elementary school children who might not otherwise have an evening meal. (Vote for them HERE to win $50,000 from Pepsi!)
I was so excited to see whole wheat bread this time, and we learned that Sara Lee donates all the bread for all those sandwiches every day. We put two slices of processed American cheese on the bread, slapped the pieces together, and bagged them up in plastic. Yes, I’m not thrilled about processed cheese OR that much plastic, but part of keeping it simple is releasing the worry and just making sure kids get fed something, even if it’s not perfect. I can’t change everything.
In a perfect world, we’d be able to put all the sandwiches in EcoLunchGear reusable sandwich wraps (my favorite choice from my review of four different reusable sandwich and snack bags). Of course, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to be making 2500 sandwiches for kids whose parents either cannot afford or do not take the time to feed their children.
I kept it simple that night at Kids Food Basket and didn’t take any pictures, but I get to reuse some cute ones of my son, so I’m cool with that. 😉
Should Mothers of Young Children Volunteer?
Any time the subject of volunteerism comes up, there’s a certain guilt in my heart, because I don’t really do very much in that arena. However, it needs to be said to all mothers of young children out there: There is a time and a season for everything, and most young moms are called to be at home taking care of their families.
It’s very important not to feel the pressure of doing service at the expense of our children and family life. As a Christian, I know God calls me to serve. But I also know that my primary vocation, more important than serving my community, more important than Kitchen Stewardship, some days even more important than taking a shower, is as a mother. I am called to serve my family and my community by raising saints.
A trusted priest told a friend when she confessed guilt over “not doing enough” that it would be more sinful to neglect her motherly duties by volunteering too much than it would be to say “no” when asked to help out at church or school. I can’t tell you how strongly this struck a chord with me.
When my kids get bigger, I hope we can serve as a family so that I can teach them the importance of a servant’s attitude, but for now – my service is for their education and good health. I have to trust that in the Body of Christ, God will call others at different stages of life to make sure the poor are fed and the godless are instructed. I can pray for them while I’m changing diapers.