Outstanding Community Service Activities
"It's all about the impact it makes on your community... It's important for students to learn that it's important to give back." – Mrs. Julie Bond-Ledford, Nashville, IL FFA Advisor
Community service activities can range from can drives to petting zoos, but what makes a great event is seeing how it helps the community around you. Check out these ideas for your next service activity.
1. Can Drive Scavenger Hunt
Where I’m from, these events are not only a BLAST to participate in, but depending how big your town or city is, the impact is huge! The plan: set a date where the impact would be greatest (Thanksgiving and the holidays are a great place to start). Set up teams, and tell them they have three hours to drive around town, knock on doors, and ask for can donations. Whoever brings home the most items, wins!
Pro tip: Offer incentives for winners and have free pizza at the end when everyone’s counting their items!
2. Donate for Donuts
My home chapters host an event called "Donate for Donuts". They host a contest throughout the high school where students bring in items to donate to the local Women’s Center (a nonprofit who houses women who need to “start over” after traumatic circumstances). All homeroom classes are pitted against each other, and at the end of the time frame, the class with the most items wins donuts for the entire class!
Pro tip: Hand out or hang up flyers with common items the nonprofit is looking for (some examples for ours were: shampoos and conditioners, toothpaste, women’s clothes, and other toiletries).
3. Traumatic Event Clean-up
Depending on where you’re located, your area might be prone to hurricanes, tornadoes or other extreme weather events. What some people don’t realize about these events is not only do farmers end up with damaged property such as homes, sheds, barns or equipment, there’s also a TON of debris in their fields!
The plan: Rally a few teams together, tell them to wear gloves and boots, grab some buckets and hit up a few local farmers. It’s amazing to see how big of an impact just a few people picking up debris can make!
Pro tip: Can’t get a group together in a short amount of time? Combine this event with #3’s Donate for Donuts, have a community or school donate items, then send them to the affected area.
4. “Adopt a Family” Christmas Shopping
If there’s one thing that makes a successful community service event, it’s definitely competition. Our local BCMW sends us information (clothes sizes, shoe sizes, favorite toys, favorite tv shows, etc.) of local underprivileged children. We then take those lists, divide up into teams, and scour the local Walmart with the goal of getting the most amount of items on the list for a pre-determined amount of money. Afterward, the winning team gets their dinner paid for! This event is not only fun for students to be pitted against each other, but what little kid doesn’t love getting fun, personalized presents for Christmas.
In your next FFA Officer meeting or chapter meeting, talk about these ideas and see what other awesome ideas your members can come up with! Customize them for your specific area or needs, but a great idea is to always try to make it a contest. Nothing gets my blood pumping better than a good, fun competition!
Pro tip: Record statistics like number of cans collected, number of students who participated, or other outcomes for use in your next National Chapter Award!