Direct Service

How To Expand Your Volunteer Base

Community service projects need volunteers. How to get more of them? The answer might seem obvious: Approach a potential recruit and make the “ask” or Create a list of available volunteer slots, distribute it widely, and wait for people to self-select for a given project. But wait a minute: How do you know that someone […]

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Empowering Schools Through Partnership

Given the challenges facing our schools, many congregations see an opportunity to help through forming partnerships. It certainly makes sense. In any neighborhood, but especially in small towns or economically challenged urban settings, schools are often a mainstay of community health. In poor neighborhoods, a thriving school can form a haven for families that are […]

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Homelessness: It Takes a Network (Video)

It takes a network to lift up individuals from poverty.   This “interfaith hospitality network” in Rochester, NY uses houses of worship to provide temporary housing for families while they are putting their lives together. Being a good neighbor may require using our churches, mosques and synagogues more creatively than ever before. Do you have […]

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Beyond Donating: Four Ways to Serve the Poor

To broaden and diversify your community service, think in terms of Donating + _______. When it comes to fighting poverty, donating cash or goods is by far the most popular activity.  A nationwide Hartford Seminary survey reported that the Big Three activities claimed by congregations each involved direct assistance:  Cash (reported by 88%) Food (85%) […]

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Short-Term Service Trips: Ten Worst Practices

  The excitement generated by the prospect of taking a short-term mission trip is palpable.  What could be more promising than a group of well-resourced, energetic people grappling with the needs of a distant community in poverty?  Despite the best of intentions, service learning can fall abruptly short of expectations.  Remember the Hippocratic oath:  First […]

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