Undies for Others: An Outreach that Doubles as Fun
Want a success formula that's fun and makes a difference?
Combine equal portions of junk food, a grown up girls' only PJ party, and the
40's version of the movie “Little Women.” Add heaping helpings of love in a way
to provide dignity for women who are homeless Blend with love.
Call it an outreach. We called it “Undies for Others.”
“Undies for Others” blossomed from God's whispering in our
ears. As in most cities and towns, there are needs to be filled for our homeless
population. As women, we saw something greater. We wanted to offer the basic
necessity of clean and new underwear. Coordinated through our church's food
mission, the annual December evening event was so much fun our smile muscles
hurt and the end result was grand.
Here's what we did, in do-able steps:
Get the word out: Design fliers and signs, making sure women
knew it wasn't a sleep over. Include information in the Sunday bulletin. Send
email or notes. Ask women to bring friends, this is an outreach.
Ask for donations: Everyone was asked to bring a package of
unopened women's underpants. We learned that large sizes are better. If
collecting panties is too risqué, socks, hair care products and sweaters are
Set a date and place: Choose an evening and a good “chick
flick.” A church room works, but it's fun to have it at a home.
Organize munchies: Have plenty of junk food, which included
sliced fruit, cheese and crackers; the “healthy” snacks were a huge success. Use
left over party plates and cups. Everyone helped herself. This was a girls' PJ
party, not a social tea.
Dress for success: We all came in bathrobes, slippers and
Follow up with the results: The next Sunday every woman who
donated was given recognition in the shape of a heart sticker. We all wore them
with pleasure and laughed about the party again.
It's a girl thing and it's Biblical: Psalm 110:3 from the New
American Standard Bible (NASB), says, "Thy people will volunteer freely in the
day of Thy power...." The outreach provided decency, dignity and love to women
who are without as we provided over 250 pair of underwear. Next year, we're
going to double that number and probably have to find a really large home for
the PJ party.
Eva Shaw, Ph.D., volunteers as director, Women's Ministries,
Las Flores Church of the Nazarene, Carlsbad , California . Contact Eva at email@example.com . She's the author of
What to Do When A Loved One Dies: A compassionate and practice guide for
dealing with death on life's terms (Writeriffic Publishing Group, 2005)Happiness Is
Decorations: Ask attendees to bring
homemade items in the following categories:
These are displayed on tables for everyone to see.
Group Participation: Ask each woman to
bring a household hint to put into the “cracker barrel.” Pull a suggestion from
the barrel and share at appropriate times during the evening.
Conduct a coupon exchange before and after the meeting.
Program: Ask a panel of five or six
women to discuss the following questions:
1. What is happiness? Describe it in one sentence. 2.
What is home? Use one word. 3. What is your favorite room in the house? Why?
4. What is your favorite color for decorating? Why? 5. Do you have a
weekly schedule for homemaking activities? If so, share it with the group.
6. What do you enjoy doing most with your children? (For single women on the
panel, expand the question to include relationships with nieces, nephews, and
children of friends.) 7. How do you and your husband create time for each
other? (For single women on the panel, expand the question to include how she
finds time to nurture and maintain friendships with other single adults as well
as married women.) 8. How do you make time for yourself? 9. How do you
plan time for God into your schedule? 10. What one thing would you like to
do better in your home?