Shady Grove United Methodist Church -- Mechanicsville
Thursday, July 02, 2020
growing together

Summer Missions Challenge

Shady Grove invites you and your family to see how many hours of service your family can perform this summer. This is not a competition, simply an opportunity to make service a focus this summer. The church’s ministries have combined to create a list of service opportunities you and your family may choose to do. This list is available as a resource, but you are welcome and encouraged to serve in other ways. Please know that Shady Grove and our conference are taking COVID-19 very seriously, so please make sure to preserve social distancing and to use every precaution to stay safe. You may perform many of these projects individually or from home, which our church encourages. Please share your mission experiences on the Shady Grove Facebook page, tag them with #summermissionschallenge, or email them to Keri Marston with the subject heading "Summer Missions Challenge.

Ministry with Senior Adults
  1. Celebrate the birthday of a Shady Grove member over 90. Four of Shady Grove’s 90+ members celebrate birthdays this summer. You can create a birthday party pack to drop off for them. To sign up, contact Mary Sue Swann who will pair you with a senior. 
    1. Cake
    2. Candles
    3. Potted plant or small gift
    4. Personalized cards from your family
    5. Balloons  
  2. Create a small gift bag for 90+ senior adults and deliver it to their door. To sign up, contact Mary Sue Swann who will pair you with a senior. 
    1. Candy (individually wrapped) 
    2. Crackers
    3. Toiletries
    4. Notepads
    5. Pens
    6. A special, small gift item of your choice
  3. Create isolation care packages for nursing home and retirement home residents with 
    1. Activities (e.g. jigsaw puzzle(s), puzzle books, adult coloring books. Patients with advanced cognitive challenges require simpler puzzles, 36-72 pieces).
    2. Blank note cards and stamps 
    3. Notes or cards from your family
    4. Pens, colored pencils, or markers. 
    5. Other small games or puzzles.
      Contact Dwayne Stinson to arrange drop-off. 
Ministry with College Students
  1. Purchase and decorate small clay flower pots to welcome VCU freshmen arriving in the fall. Go the extra mile by placing some potting soil and a succulent in the pot and maintaining it through summer. Please email Dwayne to communicate the number of pots you plan to prepare. In August, Dwayne will follow up regarding drop-off. 
    1. 5” terra cotta pot and saucer
    2. Potting soil
    3. 1 Succulent per pot
    4. Oil or acrylic decorative paints
    5. paintbrushes
  2. Create care packages for international students unable to return home this summer because of COVID related closures. 22 students at Methodist University are living on campus all summer without campus food service. Some items you might include are
    1. Rubber gloves
    2. Hand sanitizer
    3. Cleaning supplies (Disinfecting wipes, etc)
    4. Deodorants and or body sprays  
    5. Gift cards (Nearby options include WalMart, Aldi, Pizza Hut, Chic-Fil-A, Panera, Taco Bell, Chipotle. These students do not have cars so need cards to places within walking distance)
    6. Inexpensive exercise supplies (like stretch bands)
    7. Nonperishable Snacks (individually wrapped chocolates, nuts, cereal bars)
    8. Board or card games
    9. Handwritten notes
Contact Dwayne Stinson to sign up and to arrange dropoff . 

Ministry to Families with Children
  1. Create no-sew fringe fleece blankets for Ronald McDonald House. Contact Dwayne Stinson to arrange parking lot dropoff. 
    1. Two pieces of fleece fabric cut to 18”x18” or 24”x24”
    2. Quality fabric scissors 
    3. How-to video:  
  2. Support Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.
    1. Submit words of encouragement for healthcare workers:
    2. Purchase and donate gift cards  for families who are experiencing financial hardships and also have a child in the hospital right now. The hospital suggests options like Walmart, Target, GrubHub, or DoorDash. Mail to 
Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU
Child Life Department
P.O. Box 980202
Richmond VA 23298
Feeding Ministry
  1. Volunteer with MCEF (Mechanicsville Christian Emergency Functions). MCEF is looking for volunteers aged 14 and up to help distribute food outside their facility (7235 Stonewall Parkway, Mechanicsville, VA 23111). Volunteers must wear gloves and masks. Please sign up directly with MCEF. 
    1. When? Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 6:00-8:00 p.m. 
    2. Sign up by emailing Bonnie Hoffman ( For youth under 18, parents must sign a waiver.
    3. MCEF also needs volunteers to sort donations on 1st and 3rd Sundays from 2:00-3:30 p.m. Sign up by emailing Bonnie Hoffman (
  2. Sign up to volunteer at Shalom Farms to raise food for Feedmore. Shalom Farms is accepting a limited number of volunteers to help on the 12 acre farm in Powhatan, and to a lesser extent, at the Brook Road location near Union Presbyterian Seminary (For more information on our Northside Farm please email Northside Farm Manager Katharine Wilson at For more information, see
Housing Ministry
  1. Help CARITAS guests transition to new homes. Purchase a dining room table kit and assemble it for CARITAS. Kits are available for purchase for $55 each. For details regarding pick-up and delivery of the completed table, contact CARITAS ( or (804) 343-5008). 
  1. Volunteer with Hanover Habitat for Humanity.
    1. Habitat ReStore - Starting June 8, they can accept 1 volunteer per shift in the store. Volunteers must wear a mask at all times and gloves when dealing with any donations.
    2. Construction - This summer, they will start taking volunteers (ages 16 and up)  for home construction. They will need help getting the foundations, walls, trusses and roofs up once we get the green light from Hanover County.  
    3. Recycling - The recycling crew is working every Tuesday. Individuals volunteering must wear a face mask and bring their own tools.
      If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please email Amanda Gunter or call/text her at 804-304-0516.
  2. Provide supplies for Home Again Richmond. Purchase cleaning and disinfecting supplies for Home Again’s residential home. Email if you have any questions or if you would like to arrange a donation drop-off.
Foster Care Ministry
  1. Wish a foster child happy birthday through Worthdays.  Worthdays is a non-profit that invites volunteers to supply a “party in a box,”  packaged in luggage they get to keep. To download detailed instructions CLICK HERE
  2. Support UMFS (United Methodist Family Services).
    1. Cards of Encouragement – Write cards of encouragement to celebrate the UMFS Charterhouse School graduating seniors or to share care and support for the youth who have just been admitted into the UMFS residential care facilities in Richmond and Fairfax. CLICK HERE to sign up.
    2. Amazon Wish List – We have created an Amazon wish list to provide fun games and activities for the children and youth at UMFS. CLICK HERE to start shopping for children in the Child & Family Healing Center in Richmond. CLICK HERE to shop for children at Leland House in Fairfax. Please note that Amazon does not always tell us who sent each item to us. Please contact Kate Ockerman at to let us know when you make a purchase. Don’t forget about Amazon Smile while you’re shopping. Amazon will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to UMFS if you log in at and search for UMFS. Due to health and safety concerns, we ask that you ship the items directly to us through Amazon. Please do not drop items off in person during this time.
    3. Food Gift Cards – Donate $25 or $50 gift cards to Walmart, Target, or Kroger that can be used by our staff and our foster parents to buy food and necessities for the children in their care. Due to health and safety concerns, we ask that you mail them to 
Attn: Kate Ockerman 
3900 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23230
 Please do not drop off gift cards in person during this time.

Work for Racial Justice 
  1. Learn more about racial injustice and share family conversations about race.  
    1. Walk the Richmond Slave Trail. Have a family conversation about race. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers age-appropriate strategies here.  
    2. For families with children, read a book together and discuss the challenges of loving one another the way Jesus calls us to do. A useful list of books for children of all ages (up to preteens and teens)  is available here
    3. A list of additional resources to learn more is available here and here
Ministry with Adults with Disabilities
    1. Hand write notes to residents. If you have visited The Virginia Home, address your notes to individuals you remember from your service there. Otherwise, write general cards or notes that the volunteer coordinator can distribute. 
    2. Email pictures of colorful artwork you have created during social distancing (sidwalk chalk art, etc)
    3. Email a short video clip saying hello, we miss you, or featuring a group singing, dancing, or showing off one of your many talents
    4. Paint a canvas or make a sign for one of the resident’s rooms.
    5. Create a sensory board for a resident (examples available here).
    6. Create a quarantine birthday celebration box that includes...
      1. Birthday card
      2. $5 gift card to a fast food restaurant/Amazon/Target
      3. Balloons (They can inflate onsite)
      4. Birthday pin or necklace
      5. Other fun little goodies
    7. Pot little window plants (ex: aloe or other succulents) for residents. Decorate or paint the flower pot. 
    8. Paint a happy rock or a rock pet
      If you have questions, contact Annie Kennedy
Support Local Law Enforcement
  1. Create cards for law enforcement officers in Hanover and surrounding counties. DIA (Disciples in Action) invites congregation members to write notes or cards for officers offering support, encouragement, and appreciation. Please mail your handwritten notes, cards, or letters to
    Kim Farnsworth
    10291 Pollard Creek Road
    Mechanicsville, VA 23116 
Other Opportunities
     18. Make kits for UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief). Contact Dwayne Stinson to arrange parking lot dropoff. 
     19. Identify a family in your neighborhood or in the community that needs help with lawn maintenance (e.g. senior adults, emergency workers/medical workers, etc), and provide free lawn care for them this summer.
     20. Notes of inspiration and hope for our neighbors in need.  On Saturday, July 11, in partnership with Moments of Hope Outreach, Shady Groves Disciples In Action will be providing 175 bag lunches. You are invited to create hand written notes of inspiration and hope on a simple 3 X 5 index card.   They can be as simple as a note that say’s “God Loves you!” or “Have a Blessed Day”.  You can also decorate your card with fun drawings or sticker and stamps. Please mail your cards to
DIA Mission, C/O Vicki Underwood
8425 Lee Davis Road
Mechanicsville, VA 23116.
Please mail no later than Monday, July 6, 2020.
    21. Write notes to encourage families receiving food from Meals on Wheels. Take time to write a note or send uplifting messages and/or pictures. Sign your card(s) from "Your Friends at Feed More Meals on Wheels." For more information email

If you identify a project that requires resources beyond those your family can provide (e.g. a wheelchair ramp for a neighbor with disabilities), please contact Dwayne Stinson.  If you have questions about any of these projects, contact Dwayne Stinson

Please note that these projects are offered as a list for you or your family to undertake on your own. Shady Grove is not responsible for any illness or injury that may occur in the course of service, because these projects do not take place on Shady Grove's property or as part of an organized mission team from Shady Grove.