Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

November 10, 2010

Thanksgiving Service Project


As a class or youth group service project, use the weeks before Thanksgiving to collect packaged food items that make up part of a Thanksgiving meal such as cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie mix, boxes of dressing, cans of corn and other vegetables, boxes of gelatin mix, boxes of flour and sugar, and paper items like napkins and paper plates.

You may solicit donations from school or parish families or randomly in a neighborhood. There are two main ways to handle the collection.

One that works very well is for the teens to hang shopping bags with a letter explaining the project (e.g., where the items will be donated, who they will benefit, the kinds of items needed) on the doors of homes you have designated. The letter should also tell when the teens will return to pick up the bags with the person's donation. In conjunction with this method, the teens should approach the managers of local grocery stores to solicit the store's donation.

A second way to run this collection is as a scavenger hunt in which teens are given the list of needed items and asked to go in pairs or small groups to homes of designated school families or parishioners to ask for any item they have on hand. If this is the chosen method, you may wish to award a prize of some kind to the group that brings back the most items.

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