One by one, the cars pulled up in the food bank line and stopped in front of me. I put bags of potatoes in their trunks and waved them to the next station. We fed over 1,300 households that day.
The faces I saw in those cars represented the full spectrum of humanity—children, elderly, middle-aged, every skin color and religion. At least half of them had never set foot in a food bank until now. And I fought tears the entire time I served them.
This Covid-19 crisis has hit all of us in different ways. Some of us have lost loved ones to sickness. Others of us have taken a hit to our finances, leading us to wonder how we’ll put food on the table. All of us have had to adapt to a new normal with family members and kids at home.
As I’ve watched the news, I’ve kept up-to-date on medical reports and ramped up my prayers for those on the front lines. I’ve also stayed informed on how others are impacted—employees losing jobs, vulnerable kids in abusive homes, foster families… The list goes on.
What I’ve learned has been heartbreaking, but it’s also created an amazing opportunity to teach my kids compassion.
After I volunteered at the food bank, my kids clamored for stories and sat attentively as I told them about the people I served. Hunger now had a name, a face, and a personal connection. As they watch me serve, they eagerly wait for the day when they’re allowed to join me there. An unexpected gift in this uncertain time.
Moms, as we find ourselves spending more time with our families, it’s a season to rest and enjoy the memories, yes. But as I’m learning, it’s also an opportunity to open our kids’ eyes to needs beyond themselves.
The people impacted by this crisis are growing by the day, and there’s no better time to have conversations with our kids that help them see through a lens of compassion.
Here are some people and situations you can talk about and pray over.
Kids in Homes That Aren’t Safe
Talk about what it feels like to be loved and safe in your home. Share that a lot of kids look forward to school because it’s their safe place to go. Depending on your child’s age, talk about the feelings that might exist for a kid who is trapped with an abuser or who might be hungry and not have access to food.
People Who Are Scared
All it takes is a walk through the grocery store or a clip on TV to see fear in someone’s eyes. Talk with your kids about things that people might be scared of right now. Read Bible verses that talk about God’s presence being with us everywhere all the time. (Deuteronomy 31:8 is one of my favorites.) Maybe do a brainstorming session with your kids on ways to help someone who’s struggling with fear.
People Who Feel Lonely
There are so many people who feel lonely right now. They might live alone and aren’t allowed to have visitors. Maybe there are people or kids who live in a house with their family, but there isn’t any emotional nurture or care. Talk with your kids about how it would feel to be lonely and pray about ways you can share God’s love.
This is just the start of a long list of needs you can talk about with your kids. Have an open discussion and ask them about other situations they’re thinking of. What a beautiful way to help them look outside their lens and develop awareness of others.
As you foster that awareness, show them how to step into compassion, prayer, and action. These are unprecedented times, which means we have unprecedented opportunities. Let’s lead the way in opening our kids’ hearts and eyes to the world around them—a world that needs hope more than ever.