On Wednesday, June 13th, Give and Grin youth and adult participants had their first day of giving and grinning! The day was full of helping those in need, gardening, and sliding down a giant slip and slide.
The morning started out with a flurry of activity as the youth and adult volunteers started pouring in; for some, it was an old routine, but for others, it was their first time ever coming to Give and Grin. With name tags on and lunches packed in the fridge, we all sat down for our morning prayer. This year Give and Grin is focusing on the Corporal Works of Mercy (http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization/jubilee-of-mercy/the-corporal-works-of-mercy.cfm), and learning about how immigration is a controversial subject in society and in the Church today. After our morning prayer, we signed up for the various service sites of the day: packing backpacks at the Twin Cities Kids in Need Resource Center, or gardening in our backyard Giving Garden. A large group of adults and kids alike went to the Resource Center, and a few kids and adults stayed behind to garden outside.
At the Twin Cities Kids in Need Resource Center (https://www.tckinrc.org/), volunteers were happily put to work unpackaging school supplies, and packing backpacks for those who can’t afford to buy school supplies. They had created an easy assembly line for all ages to participate in and grooved along to some fun 80’s classics; who said assembly lines couldn’t be fun? One thing that all the kids recalled about their experience was that as they grabbed countless pencils throughout the day, the maroon color of them rubbed off onto their hands, so their maroon hands matched their maroon shirts! They washed off easily, but they thought that was funny. After packing backpacks all morning, they stopped and got the final tally of how many they had packed. Corpus volunteers had packed 624 backpacks, which were being sent to kids in California and Florida! The volunteers also learned that the kids who received backpacks would be sending them Thank You cards, which they are looking forward to receiving. Many of them expressed that helping others made them feel good inside, and so they were excited for the rest of Give and Grin. The group then headed back to Corpus for a well-deserved lunch break, where all volunteers shared what they had learned that morning. See picture below:
Fortunately, the gardeners were blessed with a beautiful day for gardening; the sun was shining, a nice cool breeze kept them cool, and there were hardly any bugs (except for the ones they had to pick off the potato plants)! The gardeners weeded, harvested, watered, put stakes in the ground to help the tomato plants have something to grow up, and cut watermelon for our snack later in the day. After gardening for a few hours, they loaded up their cars with all the vegetables they had harvested and headed over to the Keystone Community Services in Roseville (https://keystoneservices.org/food-shelves/). Corpus Christi created the Giving Garden solely to give to those in need and donating to our local food shelf is one way we give. When all the veggies were weighed, they discovered they had picked 54 pounds of veggies that day! The list of veggies is quite long and impressive: they picked a box of Asian Cabbage, a box of Radishes, a box of Collard Greens, a box of Rhubarb, a box of Kale, a box of Dill, Basil, Spinach, and Cilantro, and two big boxes of Lettuce. After a morning of gardening in the sun, sweat, and dirt, the gardeners were more than ready for a lunch break!
Since it’s called “Give and Grin” and we’ve already talked about giving, we now get to talk about grinning! That afternoon, Tony Ducklow came in to facilitate some game show games, Nerf wars, and a giant slip and slide in the backyard. For the game shows, he had every adult and kid write their name on a piece of paper, and he would pick out names randomly to come up and participate in various games. He facilitated Minute to Win It, Family Feud, and America’s Got Talent. After cheering on and laughing with the randomized contestants, it was time for the Nerf Wars to begin. The kids loved splitting into two teams and trying to get one another “out,” and they also enjoyed playing capture the flag complete with Nerf guns. Making sure to pick up all their darts, they all had a great time running around in the sun after a morning of work. Eventually, the giant slip and slide was all ready to go, so the kids picked up outside, headed in to eat some watermelon and popcorn, got changed into their swimsuits, and headed out back for some more fun. The slip and slide itself was made out of a billboard sign; in the picture below, you can make out that it used to be an AT&T billboard!
After a long day at Give and Grin, parents started to arrive to pick their kids up and head home. It was a very successful first day and both the kids and adults really enjoyed it! It’s always great to get out into the community and help by giving one’s time and resources. If we all took some time out of our days to lend a helping hand, the world might be a happier and more loving place. Just watch out for pencils turning your hands maroon!
If you’d like to sign up for Give and Grin, contact Liz Russell at: liz.russell@ccmn.