PLEASE NOTE ALL PICTURES ARE FROM PRE-COVID TIMES!!
In honor of MLK Day today and Martins commitment to service, I thought I would feature where my son and I like to donate time. We have been volunteering here for almost 3 years.
This information is based on our visits pre-covid, due to we still distance so we can see my mom, so I assume some things have changed.
When my son was 8 years old, he and I had been wanting to volunteer at Meals by Grace for a long time, the timing just never worked out for us. I finally just booked it and said we are going and so glad we did. First you need to go online and fill out this form https://mealsbygrace.org/Volunteer.aspx click register to serve in the top right corner and pick a date to serve. You also get to pick which job you want when you volunteer. The first Sunday of each month from 1-3, they allow children under 12 in the kitchen. Other Sundays they are not.
You will get an email almost immediately to give you more info and what to do, keep these for the address. We also got a reminder text the day before about it. We showed up at about 12:50 today, found our name tags on the table and waited till 1:00 for the volunteer meeting. They told us how Meals by Grace came about and how there are over 45,000 people in Forsyth County that need food each week (number from 2018.) This number is those just refereed by school counselors, not to mention older people and children who are not school age yet. They ask for a $10 donation per person volunteering, but if you can not afford that feel free to give what ever. They use to pass around a basket and you put cash in it.
We then went to our area that we pre-signed up for to work. We chose dry/canned food. We first helped unload the trucks and bring everything in. We then got bags that were pre-made and put it by that families box. We then went though many more bags. Next, we helped grocery shop. We got a bag with a list on it and then went through the food and gathered the food that was on the list My son liked being able to pick what vegetables the families would eat. .We did this over and over til all bags were done. This is great for the young age.
We have also volunteered making laundry soap. If your child loves to make slime this is a great place to volunteer. It is outside. The older kids help make the laundry detergent and the younger kids help fill the empty bottles they collect. You can get messy, but my son loved it. I suggest maybe rain boots and messy clothes if your little kids do this.
Then it was time to learn how to deliver the food. They do a great job of giving you an info sheet where to go and any clues on how to find the house and even a picture of the house. They really encourage you to help deliver, if not they will have you help clean up the room, while we deliver.
We then loaded up the car and headed that way. We got to the house and gave the family their food, asked what else they needed and I have an email or phone number I could call or email and let Meals by Grace know anything from our visit. They tell us not to give them money or anything but to let them know what they said they needed.
I was very impressed how well organized everything was. We did this in June and it was very hot out. With the doors open it can get hot in there, so dress ready to be on your feet for 2 hours and dress cool. They also have water and cups in the kitchen cutting area if you need a drink, I would suggest you bring a cold one from home.
When we first got there my son said this is a lot of work, by the time we left he asked to sign up for next week. I think it is great for children age 5 plus. You could do younger if you think your child can help for 2 hours.
They ask that women put their large purses in a chest, so maybe leave the big purses at home if you do not feel comfortable doing that. They do it for sanitary reasons (this was pre-covid)
If you can't volunteer, you can also donate money online https://mealsbygrace.org/DonateOpts.aspx. If you have extra cloth bags that you use for getting groceries that you no longer need (I know I end up with tons of these and will now grab more free ones at festivals). You can also donate empty laundry detergent containers and foam egg cartons.
This is great way to get young children involved and see first hand who gets it. They told us a story about a 10 year old boy who they gave a birthday cake to. This was the first cake he had ever gotten. What better way to see how such a little thing can really mean so much! They try to make sure if they know there is a birthday that they get cupcakes or a cake for that week.