I'm always looking for ways to help my kids understand a bit more about their faith, serving others, growing in Christ. I'm guessing others are too. My intention in sharing this is truly to give ideas. I'm not wanting to suggest we've got it all figured out, or that our ideas are any better, etc. Please know I'm just wanting to share.
Anyhow, all that out of the way...
To incorporate the idea of almsgiving on the kids level, we came up with "Poor-man's Pizza." The idea started with a letter we recieved last week from a charity we'd donated to in the past called "Food for the Poor." A missionary priest from South America came to our parish and shared details of the living conditions in one particular area, and the kids and I all left mass that day changed by what he shared. Anyhow, John and I agreed we felt compelled to donate (even if only a little) again somehow. We quickly realized that we don't necessarily have a stash of money to pull from, so we'd have to cut out one of our luxuries in order to make it fit in the budget. The first thing that came to mind, was our nearly weekly pizza night. Seems as though lately we've been ordering in pizza almost weekly, and this would certainly be something we could do without. To get the kids involved, and to let them know how our sacrifice of something so small could help others, we came up with the chart. Alice and Emma designed it so that there are 6 slices, one for each of the weeks of Lent. For each week we skip pizza night, we'll add a paper pepperoni to a slice, and stash the money saved into an envelope to be mailed out during Holy Week. We also clipped pictures of a severely impoverished, starving family (that came from the letter we recieved) along with a picture of the Holy Mother (which also came with the letter, and was too pretty not to include.) The poster hangs in our kitchen, in plain sight as a reminder of how our simple sacrifices can add up. Emma said it best as I was trying to sell the idea to Grace (who loves Pizza Hut pizza) "Think of it this way Grace, we give up pizza for a few weeks so that little starving children might not die." Wow. Even I wouldn't have put it that bluntly, but it was effective, and Grace got it.
Thank you Lord, for one more opportunity to serve, and for leading me in teaching our children to serve others with a charitable heart.
(by the way, the title "Poor-man's Pizza" came from a term we use around the house often. We serve up "Poor-man's waffles"--just toast with syrup--when we're out of waffles, or "Poor-man's steak"--just thick bologna on the grill--which the kids prefer, I think. Anyhow, the name for the pizza project came easy...something we've said before.)