This idea came from one of the ladies at my church named Lisa. She not only thought up this idea, but also took it upon herself to accomplish it! I like this idea because it preserves the dignity of the families that you are helping. Lisa did this last year and increased her participation by 50% this year. Here is what she did – she insured 15 families would receive Thanksgiving meals by working with our school system, a local grocer, and the people in our church.

Here is how she accomplished it:
1) Lisa found a grocer who would be open on Thanksgiving Day, and makes Thanksgiving dinners.
2) Then based upon the cost to feed a family of 4 to 6, she took donations from individual members and small groups in our church.
3) She created vouchers for the recipients to use when they pick up their meals on Thanksgiving
4) Next, depending on how many dinners where paid for, she went to a selected elementary school in our town and asked their faculty to give the vouchers to truly impoverished families
5) Lisa also provided literature about Jesus and our church to the grocer to add to the meals

So, on Thanksgiving, 15 families took their vouchers to the grocer and received a nice, complementary Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings.

I love this project because:
• It is task free. Because Thanksgiving is a busy time, a simple donation lets others do the work
• It doesn’t require the school to “promote religious activity”, which is important and necessary if the ACLU has ever come to your school system. The vouchers are given directly to parents, not children. The literature is handed out by the grocer, not the school. The school does not even know that we intend to hand out literature.
• Because it is anonymous, the family can pick their food up without feeling like a spectacle
• Kids and families get fed!
• It is super easy to pull off!

This makes a great outreach ministry project for the church, which is why I am including it as an idea starter for my Women’s Involvement Ministry. I am hoping one of my teams can build upon this concept. Can you think of some suggestions?

In case I did not get around to saying “Happy Thanksgiving”, then please accept my holiday wishes for you to have a wonderful Christmas Season!

Gina Duke is the Director of Women’s Ministry at her church where she has implemented a Women’s Involvement Ministry, called “Joppa”. This project is one of the ministry’s “Idea Starters”. Gina is an organizational leader imparting biblical and practical solutions for authentic Christian Living. She is the founder and president of Churchtown Ministries, and author of “Organzing Your Prayer Closet” (Abingdon Press). For more posts like these, go to or follow her board, “Joppa” on Pinterest – Gina Duke/Churchtown Ministries. You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter @TheGinaDuke

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