Monday, June 28, 2010
One of the most forgotten group of people in the church are the home bound, or shut-ins. They dedicated their lives to their church. They used to attend regularly, be involved in everything and gave freely and lovingly. Now that they are not able to attend or be involved, people forget that they are still here, just not filling up pew space. Many of these people are either in a care facility or living alone with minimal contact with people. They struggle from day to day to make ends meet or just to do something that used to come easily. The biggest thing to remember in all of this is ---- one day it will be you!
My favorite time of year is Christmas, so what better way and time to remember our shut-ins than at Christmas??!!
This is not a quick project, but rather a long drawn out one. It takes almost a year to make items and to collect items or purchase them.
Step 2: Check and verify. Call the assisted living centers and the care units. Verify the person you are looking for is at that location, definitely. Get room numbers, mailing addresses and phone numbers. Verify, verify, verify.
Step 3: Make a list. (Actually, more than one). First list: Physical limitations, requirements. This may not seem important, but if you are collecting items or making items for someone, you need to know if they are wheelchair bound, or diabetic, or have some other physical disability.
Your first list should include: Name, address, phone number, b-day (this can be used for birthday cards later in the year), male or female, where they reside (home, assisted living) and any special needs. On our list we also have "bib". This is so that we know this person needs a special bib to eat. They have a physical disability that makes it difficult to eat and they spill food a lot while eating. These bibs are nothing special, other than they are adult size and long. But, they are only for certain individuals, so we added it to our list. Also on your list make a note if this is an individual or a couple. Many times both individuals are homebound for any number of reasons. Don't overlook the spouse or caregiver!
Step 4: Make your 2nd list: Your wish list.
The past 2 years I made a list up and gave it to my church. They then printed it up in their weekly and monthly bulletin. It tells people about our project and what we are aiming to provide. It also tells people how they can help in this mission project. We usually put a number needed (ie - 60 people, so we need 60 blankets), along with a contact number and where the items can be dropped off at.
Step 5: The money does several things. It helps buy what was not fully donated by the church members and it purchases extras like ribbon (we weave it thru the baskets to make them cheery). The other thing we do is buy the shut-ins a gift card to Luby's or Furr's. Many of them cannot afford to go out and eat without relying on someone to take them. By providing them a gift card, they can buy a senior meal and buy a meal for the person who is taking them. This has been one of the most loved items. We also pick up anything else we might have missed that would go well in the baskets.
Step 7: Set up the deliveries. Have one person contact everyone on your list that you will be delivering a basket to. Some shut-ins won't open their doors to just anyone. So, let them know who you are and that you are with your church and that "so and so" will be delivering a basket to them on "this date". Make sure someone will be there for delivery. This is a good project for the youth dept. I firmly believe our youth should be in contact and get invovled with our shut-ins. It's a win-win for both of them.
Step 9: Feedback. You'll get thank you cards, you'll get suggestions on how to improve it, you'll get lots of feedback. That's a good thing. You can always improve.
I hope this gives you a few ideas on how to help your church shut-ins. I really love this mission project. I hope you do as well.