November 26, 2019

Giving Back Is What Makes the Holidays Super Special
We're making it easy for men's groups to get involved in the spirit of giving back this holiday season. Between now and New Year's Day, the Men's NetWork is encouraging men's groups to help others during the holidays. It's a splendid opportunity for guys to use their energy and talents to "pay it forward" to others who could use a lift this Christmas season.

Don't forget there's a fun contest with three winning categories, too: 1) most creative service idea; 2) most community-oriented project; 3) best "holiday-themed" dressed group. Each group winner receives a $150 Amazon gift card. Also, registered participants will receive a new Men's NetWork stocking hat or one of our other "classic" caps!

Your event need not be elaborate or overly time consuming. Everybody's busy this time of year, of course. Just come up with something that's fun, benefits others, and brings a few of your guys together doing something good. Here's a few ideas to think about.

* Giving Back to a Nursing Home or Retirement Center
These folks are truly appreciative when visitors drop by. Think about putting together Christmas stockings for them. You can fill them with items from any dollar-type store. After you've passed them out, why not sing a few Christmas carols as you stroll the hallways, wishing residents a Merry Christmas and God's blessings for the New Year.

Stockings can be filled with mints and hard candy, homemade snacks, packets of hot chocolate, tea or coffee, slipper socks, skin lotion, lip balm, and a few of LHM's Project Connect booklets and Advent devotions.

* Giving Back to Kids Who Need Toys
What's more traditional at Christmas than giving kids toys? These may be low-income or disadvantaged kids at homeless shelters, long-term hospitals, or those in a family or two that you know will not have much of a Christmas this year in terms of presents. Once you determine the kinds of gifts you'll get based on the age and gender of each child, you group can get to work.

Doing a kids' gift giveaway will require selecting and collecting toys (many second-hand shops for children have excellent toys in great shape). You can then gift wrap the items (spouses and girlfriends may be handy here). Also, include a Christmas card along with some illustrated kids' booklets and Advent devotions from LHM. Then just deliver to families.

* Giving Back Free Car Winterizing Services and Kits
There's nothing that says "practical" like free car services, especially during the hectic holiday season. Here your group can secure donations, collect items, pack kits, and serve at the event. Freebies can include checking antifreeze and oil levels (topping off fluids), checking tire pressure (filling tires with a portable air compressor), checking battery cables, and cleaning posts.

Helpful items to distribute are antifreeze, oil, windshield wiper fluid, tire pressure gauges, ice scrapers, jumper cables, emergency roadside kits, bags of kitty litter or sand (for better traction), and LHM's 2019 Advent devotions: Call His Name Jesus.

* Giving Back a Christmas Dinner Basket
Of course, with Christmas comes the traditional meal, which is always a sizeable expense. For many, of course, it's simply not even possible on their budget. Here your men's group can gather the ingredients for a truly special dinner and deliver these goodies right to the front door of the families receiving them.

Meal baskets can include a frozen turkey or ham, boxed stuffing, canned cranberry sauce, canned vegetables and fruit, a can or jar of gravy, pumpkin pie (or filling and crust), macaroni and cheese (for the kids), an aluminum roaster pan, a pie tin (if prepared pie isn't included), and a printed copy of LHM's Advent devotions. You might even want to toss in the video Bible study, The Real St. Nick: Leader, Legend or Lie.

* Giving Back to a Men's or Women's Shelter
These safe havens have an ongoing need for materials for adults and children using their services. Your group can help meet this shortage by donating essential items in high demand. To do this, your men's group can break into different teams to solicit donations, collect items, pack kits, and distribute goods to the shelter.

Items can be packed in clear plastic bags or grocery sacks. Include things like shampoo, bars of soap, disposable razors, shaving cream, feminine hygiene products, toothbrushes and toothpaste, lip balm, combs, hats, gloves, sweaters, coats, blankets, toys, coloring books, crayons, socks, LHM's illustrated kids' booklets, and Advent devotions.

* Giving Back to a Veterans Hospital
Over the course of their lives, these dedicated men and women have often paid a high physical price for their active-duty military service through injuries, disabilities, and various traumatic stress disorders. You can convey a small token of your indebtedness to them for their time in the Armed Forces with a visit and the gift of a handmade care package. Gift packs for vets are fun to put together.

Care packages can include items like crossword puzzle books, beef jerky, paperbacks, chocolate, candy bars, an easy-to-read Bible, hot sauce, trail mix, a signed Christmas card with a handwritten note, and some LHM Project Connect booklets and you guessed it—LHM's Advent devotions.

You can register for GIVES BACK at the Men's NetWork by clicking here and giving us a few quick details.

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