Shady Grove United Methodist Church -- Mechanicsville
Saturday, August 08, 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. 26 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, 1 1/2 yards each
    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. Click here to access online e-cards for workers. A list of staff is available here. (Note: after each postcard is submitted, you will need to select "Team Member Greeting Card" from the menu on the left). 
    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 (
      Stay up to date with MCEF's needs by checking their website. They continue to receive donations of food and clothing on 1st and 3rd Sundays (2:00-3:30 p.m.). 
  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.
         1. Purchase a dining room table kit or a dresser kit and assemble it for CARITAS. Kits are available for purchase for $60 each. Completed furniture may be delivered to 700 Dinwiddie Avenue, Richmond, Va. For more information, click here
         2. Assemble a kit. CARITAS invites three options: 
              Hygiene kits include toiletries and self-care items including razors and shampoo.
              Welcome Home kits include household cleaning supplies used by clients as they transition into permanent housing.
              Workforce Development kits include shoe polish, travel bags, razors and other supplies. 
         For more information or to sign up to supply some kits, click here
         3. Sign up to provide a meal for CARITAS guests at The Healing Place. When you sign up, CARITAS requests 28 $10-$20 gift cards to Kroger, or $210 to $420 in gift cards per meal. Please place the cards in an envelope, and drop the cards off at The Healing Place (700 Dinwiddie Avenue) in the mailbox outside.  Please label your envelope with “Attn: Jenn Patterson, Women’s Shelter” and include your return address information. If you have any questions, please contact the Women’s Shelter Program Manager Jenn Patterson at To sign up to provide meals, click here
         4. Help CARITAS outfit transitional housing apartments in the new CARITAS center. The new center has 47 apartments. You can find an Amazon gift registry by clicking here. For more information about the new center, click here
  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 hope and encouragement to children and teens in the Treatment Foster Care program. 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 
Run a Virtual 5k 
     18. Raise funds for All God's Children Camp on August 15All God's Children Camp is a ministry of the Virginia Annual Conference of the UMC. It offers a week of summer camp to children, aged 7-12, who have an incarcerated parent. Though camp did not meet this year, the $45 registration fee for the 5k will provide support for the 2021 camp. To register or to find out more about the 5k, click here
     19. Support Mental Health Awareness through the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation. This year's "Speak Up 5k" takes place September 12, and participants run wherever they are to maintain social distancing. For more information or to sign up individually or with a team, click here
Additional Opportunities
     20. 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.
    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
     22.  Make kits for UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief). Contact Dwayne Stinson to arrange parking lot dropoff. 
     23. HandsonRVA lists a number of volunteer opportunities that include in person volunteering with social distancing, virtual volunteer opportunities, and other ways to serve. To find out more, click here

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.