Finals are over, your bags are unpacked (maybe), and you are on summer break! Whether your summer is filled to the brim with work, activities, and trips or if your summer has no real direction at the moment, I have a challenge for you. Take some time to do something for someone else by performing a/some/many corporal works of mercy.
The corporal works of mercy come to us from Matthew 25:34-40, where Jesus tells us that whatever you did to the least of these, you did it to Him. Below are some simple and some not so simple ideas to get your started. As Pope Francis said, “True power is service. The Pope must serve all people, especially the poor, the weak, the vulnerable.” If he can do it, so can you!
*For a quick study on stewardship and why to perform corporal works of mercy, check out this chapter in one of our FOCUS Bible Studies.
Feed the Hungry
- Make sandwiches and pass them out to the homeless.
- Keep granola bars in your car to pass out to people in need at stoplights.
- Pick up leftovers at a local grocery store, bakery, or restaurant and deliver them to a food bank or homeless shelter.
- Take a friend out to lunch, your treat.
- Keep a list of local food banks and soup kitchens on hand to pass out to those you encounter around your town who could use such services.
- Volunteer at a food bank.
- Organize a Catholic Relief Services Food Fast and donate the proceeds to help farmers withstand drought in Malawi; $60.00 is all it takes.
- Serve at a soup kitchen.
- Prepare and take a meal to someone in your community who is seriously ill or welcoming home a newborn.
- Help out at a Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast.
- Give to or host a food drive.
Give Drink to the Thirsty
- Pass out water bottles to the homeless.
- Have a “donations only” lemonade stand and use the proceeds to Improve the Water Supply in Ethiopia via Catholic Relief Services.
- Pay for the coffee of the person behind you at a coffee shop.
- Take a cold glass of water to a neighbor doing yard work.
- Donate baby formula to a local pregnancy help center.
- Work a drink station at a local charity race.
Clothe the Naked
- Go through your closet and give away what you don’t need.
- Host a clothing drive and donate the items.
- Knit, crochet, or sew baby blankets for your local pregnancy help center.
- Knit, crochet, or sew scarves, hats, and gloves for your local homeless shelter.
- Score some sweet deals at garage sales and send the items to a foreign mission site.
Shelter the Homeless
- Attend a FOCUS mission and help build homes (Okay, maybe it’s too late to do this THIS summer, put start planning to do it next.
- Volunteer to do manual labor to help in the upkeep of a homeless shelter.
- Chaperone a youth group mission trip with Catholic Heart Work Camp, Nazareth Farm, Bethlehem Farm, and help maintain existing homes and keep those in need in their homes.
- Keep a list of local homeless shelters on hand to pass out to those you meet on the street.
Become a mentor to a foster child.
- Send a care package with special treats to an orphanage.
- Help a family working towards adoption by hosting a fundraiser for them.
- Sponsor a child through Unbound.
- Donate to or volunteer with programs such as Christ in the City to further their efforts in working with the homeless.
Visit the Sick
- Volunteer at a hospital.
- Volunteer to call Bingo at a nursing home.
- Send flowers or a card to someone you know who is in the hospital.
- Attend a FOCUS mission, such as the trip to Kolkata, to serve the those who are ill (Start planning for next summer!).
- Take the Eucharist to the homebound in your community.
- Visit a seriously or terminally ill member of your parish.
- Sponsor an elderly person through Unbound.
Visit the Imprisoned
- Lead a bible study at a local prison.
- Help with a communion service or Mass at a prison.
- Donate bibles and/or spiritual reading materials to a prison.
- Mentor a teen at a juvenile correction center.
Bury the Dead
- Attend wakes and/or funerals of those you knew.
- Volunteer with a hospice program.
- Supply a dish for a funeral luncheon.
- Help a widow or widower in need with yard work or errands.
- Visit the cemetery and pray for the dead.
- Donate to ministries that offer free Catholic burials to those who are unable to afford one.
- Pray at an abortion clinic for the lives lost to abortion.
- Attend services for an inmate who was executed.