For the 4th year in a row, our Youth Group students (5th grade and up) have served the Cape Cod community on MLK Day. Instead of sleeping in or getting together with friends on their day off from school, they come together to serve their community, to give back. In years past, our group has worked heavily with AmeriCorps Cape Cod, normally serving down Cape. This year, we wanted to directly serve our local neighbors in Falmouth, so we did just that.
Our local food pantry, the Falmouth Service Center (FSC) is traditionally closed on MLK Day, but since one of our church members, Matt O’Connor is their Warehouse Manager, we were able to have the place to ourselves! Students arrived at 9:00 am, then Matt gave us a tour of their facility and explained all the various services the FSC offers the community. Not only are they a food pantry, but they provide clothing, fuel assistance, financial assistance, host toy drives, community suppers and so much more. It was neat to see how many of our students volunteer with the Service Center on a annual basis.
After the tour, we started Service Project #1! Operation cat and dog food! In addition to clients coming in every two weeks to get food for their families, they can also pick up food for their pets! Large bags of cat and dog food are donated to the Service Center, however, families do not take home a massive bag of food for their pet. Instead, the food is repackaged into smaller gallon-size bags. And that’s where we came in! We were responsible for consolidating the big bags into smaller bags. We put ourselves into 3 groups (of 4-5 students) and worked as an “assembly line.” Groups dumped the food into big plastic bins, scooped the food into bags (about 2/3 full), sealed the bags, labeled them with the type of food and packaged them into boxes. Although it was a simple task, it was extremely fun! It was interesting to see how students worked together to be as efficient as possible.
Once we finished that project, it was time for a little fun…Warehouse Bowling! Contestants tried to roll a ball into a box. Sounds simple, but it was actually pretty challenging. Of course the prizes were chocolate!
Then it was time for Service Project #2! You see, the Falmouth Service Center is 1.2 miles from the church. It would have been very easy to have the students picked up by their parent, where they had been dropped them off, but that would be no fun! So, we decided…let’s have them picked up at the church! The catch is, they’re going to have to walk to the church. But while they’re walking they might as well pick up trash along the road! So we did just that! Gifford Street is one of the most well-traveled roads in Falmouth. And because of that, it is also one of the most loitered roads in Falmouth. So we had groups on both sides of the road picking up any trash they could find. We thought 3-5 bags would be enough, but we were severely mistaken! Our group collected over 8 heaping bag-fulls of trash! We even found a trash can (which was convenient), a suitcase full of carpet, a metal bed frame, car batteries, tons of coffee cups and so much more. Some of the litter was far into the woods, which by the way…were in prickers! But our team trampled through the brush trying to pick up everything they saw. It was amazing to see their determination and heart as they tried to clean up this strip of land.
An hour later, with freezing fingers and flush cheeks, we made it to the church! And what better thing could be awaiting us you ask?! PIZZA! All of our hard work was rewarded with the best food ever made (in the eyes of a teen/tween)…pizza!
Overall, this MLK Day of Service was nothing short of amazing. Our diverse group bonded together like never before, served in our own backyard and demonstrated the love of Christ to our world. We pray these small acts of compassion, by young people, would make a ripple effect in our community so that others would be spurred on to faith and good deeds. Amen.
A very special thank you to Matt O’Connor and Carrie Leonard for chaperoning and serving with us. Your dedication, enthusiasm and love for others is inspiring to our whole group. Click here to view all of the photos from the day!
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.