As the summer months are here and you have a more open schedule or looking for some new activities for you and your family, here are some great ideas and opportunities!
Interfaith Ministries (IM) of Greater Houston:
Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s Refugee Services department, in conjunction with the U.S. State Department, Episcopal Migration Ministries and Church World Service, resettles legal refugees fleeing their homeland in fear of political, social or religious persecution. IM helps refugees from around the world make new lives in America.
Donations: There is always a need for household and other items that are given to the refugees when they arrive. Donations are accepted to help with those relocating. Be sure to check the website on ways you can help and dates/times to drop off donations.
Flash cards: Most of our refugees do not know English. Flash cards can be made and given to the families to learn basic English words that can help them get around the Houston area. Adult cards are in greater need however, elementary age children cards are also appreciated.
1. Draw or cut out and paste a picture on one side of the index card – these can be very basic items (oranges, bread, shirt, pants, dress, etc – think simple picture of one item)
2. Flip the card over and write out the word of the picture.
3. Use rubber bands to collect sets of 25 completed refugee cards and package in a sandwich bag.
4. Note on the bag Adult or Child so they know which age group the cards would assist the best.
Refugee flash cards may be delivered/sent to: Interfaith Ministries 3202 San Jacinto St. Houston, TX 77004
Handmade cards: Holiday or Sympathy cards can be made to brighten the lives of Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston clients such as recipients of Meals on Wheels. There is no need to place cards in an envelope, many have difficulty getting the cards out of the envelopes due to arthritis and stiff joints.
- The following holidays are observed: Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4, Veterans Day, Christmas (generic holidays card around Christmas time). Please no glitter on the cards. Card sentiments should be sensitive to different religions: ‘keeping you in our prayers’ is ok. ‘stay strong, Jesus will guide you’ is not ok. Generic greetings like ‘happy memorial day’ is great. Holiday cards are needed about 3 weeks prior to the holiday as they do not have room to store them for prolonged periods of time.
- Sympathy cards are always welcome. Sentiments should be sensitive to all religions. Suggested thoughts are:
- With our deepest heartfelt sympathy at the loss of your loved one….
- Our thoughts and prayers are with you in this painful season of your life…
- In prayer for the healing of your heart in a very profound way…
Handmade cards may be delivered/sent to: Interfaith Ministries/Meals on Wheels 3202 San Jacinto St. Houston, TX 77004
Other opportunities to volunteer at Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston may be found on their website https://www.imgh.org/ under Meals on Wheels, Refugee Services, or Volunteer. Many things can be done from our area. Meals on Wheels is available in the Katy area for volunteers.
Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH): All items may be dropped at the front desk
Decorate Placemats for Food Trays: Decorate pieces of 11X17 paper to become colorful, encouraging placemats for food trays help brighten TCH patient’s day. Encouraging thoughts, pictures or small activities (tic-tac-toe, connect the dots, etc) patients can enjoy will be helpful.
- Message guidelines: TCH is unable to use placemats with phrases saying ‘Get better soon’ or similar. Phrases such as ‘Hope you are feeling better’ or ‘Have a happy day’, etc. are appropriate. Patients come from many cultures so they ask that religious phrases/thoughts are not used.
- Decoration guidelines: Keep in mind food plates are placed on the placemats so multi-dimensional placemats or raised embellishments would be best used another way. These are disposable. No need to laminate. No glitter please. Be creative, colorful and have fun!
Assemble Activity Bags: These bags are used to help a child waiting for a doctor’s appointment, surgery, medical procedure or just needing a little extra love. Small sized paper bags are best. (you may provide artwork on a bag but it is not required.) They are unable to use bags with religious phrases or “Get well soon”. ‘Hope you are feeling better’ is appropriate ). A few sheets of the following are always enjoyed. Coloring sheets, word search pages, hangman, tic-tac-toe, connect the dot, dot-to-dot, etc. may be copied off the internet or from books. A small type toy/activity may be added but not necessary. These may include a small container of playdoh, card game, small puzzles, etc. Patients from 2 – 3 years to older teen enjoy these bags.
Make Fleece Blankets: construct fleece lap blankets of all sizes are always needed. Any child loves to have a soft blanket to cuddle.
Donate New Underwear: New underwear is always needed. Currently there is a need for older children and teens but all sizes are welcome.
Katy Christian Ministries (KCM):
o Make Handmade cards for their clients are always welcome. A cheerful message, religious phrase or Bible scripture on the cards helps to give encouragement to others. Cards may be dropped at the Food Pantry.
o Thrift shop. Donations of gently used clothing (clean and in good repair), housewares and furniture are always accepted. These should be delivered to the rear entrance. Check their website for information on pickup of large furniture at your home. http://ktcm.org/donate/wherewhat-can-i-donate/
o Plastic grocery bags – Clean grocery bags (without holes) are needed at KCM. Flatten your grocery bags and drop them at KCM. 5510 1st Street, Katy, TX Hours: M-F 9am –5 pm, Sat 9am – 1PM
AngelGowns by Diane:
Angel Gowns by Diane provides burial clothing for families who have suffered the loss of a child before, during or shortly after birth at no cost. This is an opportunity to either donate formal dresswear (wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses and other formal wear) or use your sewing skills to make burial clothing. Contact Diane Dionne at http://angelgownsbydiane.org/
Books Between Kids:
Books Between Kids is a non-profit organization serving Houston’s at-risk children by providing them with books to build their own home libraries. Volunteer or donate gently used children’s books to help children in HISD build a home library. http://www.booksbetweenkids.org/
Case for Smiles:
This is one of the few volunteer organizations solely dedicated to helping sick children cope with the stress of their illnesses and injuries. They provide handmade whimsical pillowcases for each child and distribute them in Katy area hospitals. Check out our website http://caseforsmiles.org/ Contact Theresa in the Katy area for directions on how to make these pillowcases. TheresaForSmiles@comcast.net
Share the gift of Sight:
Recycle eyeglasses you no longer need. The Lion’s Club drop-off box for gently used glasses is located in the front area at Maude Marks Library at 1815 Westgreen, Katy, Texas 77450.
Bless those in Uganda in helping to make the upper parts of shoes for people in Uganda. The pattern is traced and then cut from old denim jeans, sent to an individual in the US to send on to Uganda where they employ people in their country to make the shoes. These shoes cover the feet of people in Uganda to help protect them from ‘jiggers’ that burrow into the skin and make it painful and difficult to walk. We are so blessed!!!! http://solehopeparty.org/ or check with Grand Lakes YM/YW for more information. They recently held a Soul Hope Shoe Party for their combined activity.
Organizations that may have an opportunity for Eagle Projects or Personal Progress 10 hour projects:
- Located in Brookshire, Brookwood Community is a God-centered educational, residential, and entrepreneurial community for adults with functional disabilities. Contact Brookwood Community directly to see what is needed at the time
Katy Christian Ministries
- Food drive summer- early fall. Donations are needed to help feed others in our community. Contact Lynn to make arrangements. Pantry Manager: Lynn.Hooge@ktcm.org
- Building shelves for Pantry or Thrift Store. Contact Katy Christian Ministries for other projects needed at the time you are identifying a project.
- For information call Social Services at 281-391-9623.
Katy Parks – Keep Katy Beautiful
- Contact Amy Reed at Katy Parks and Recreation email: areed@CityofKaty.com
Katy Prairie Conservancy
- Help maintain KPC’s Coastal Prairie Native Seed Nursery, combat invasive species, mulch trails, clear fences of vegetation, and restore prairie habitats. Contact Christine Mansfield 713-523-6135 firstname.lastname@example.org