It’s late in the game but by no means not too late for an outreach on Independence Day. Part of the appeal of practical outreach is it has few moving parts necessary to succeed. A couple of hours and a few bucks will do.
Bottles of water — cold soft drinks — glow sticks. It’s a little late in the game to get glow necklaces at a good price. They are fairly affordable online — usually less than $.25 per item. Typical sticks tend to be around $.50.
Show up at a parade near you. Follow the route as you give away water or soft drinks. Chill the drinks to the point they will nearly crack your teeth. Under the tab slip in an outreach card. This will give the ones you reach to have enough information to follow up on themselves. If there is no nearby parade then make it to an evening fireworks program.
My wife Janie takes a laid back approach with people. With drinks in hand, she extends her “loaded” hand and usually says, “Did you get your free water yet?” I am a bit more forward and assume they want what I’m giving. With product in hand, I reach out to them — “Here’s your free ____. We are doing community outreach to show God’s love in a practical way.” People might engage and ask for more of an explanation. I like to say, “This is the sort of thing Jesus would do if he was walking around town today. He’s is a “Show and tell” God. He’s all about bringing his love in practical ways.”
Sometimes children will ask for one of what we are giving out. Of course, we want to show them love in a practical way, but wisdom dictates that we give products to parents directly. It’s pretty much a guarantee kids won’t connect the dots on their own without their parents. Keep in mind, some parents don’t want their children interacting with any stranger — even those bringing the generosity of God in practical ways.
By the way, even if you are by yourself dishing out the drinks, you will want to purchase more than you think you can use. A couple of cases of 24 will almost evaporate on a hot July day! You and just a few friends can give out 500 bottles at a parade in no time flat!