In 4-H, we pledge our HANDS to larger SERVICE. While at home, we can still fulfill our commitment to service in many ways. The ideas below can be done individually or all members of a club can work together on the same project. The needs of our communities are still there in some ways more than ever before!
What ideas do you have to serve your local community right now? What have you done to serve others? We want to hear from you!
Civic Engagement/Service video
- Community Service Basics: Your Time to Volunteer: by Middlesex County 4-H (3 mins) (YouTube video)
Feed A Family 5K and Wellness Walk
This June, FCHS will host their first annual virtual Feed a Family 5K and Wellness Walk. FCHS is partnering with Rutgers Against Hunger (RAH) to raise funds that will stock local NJ food pantries with nutritious foods and help families learn easy, tasty ways to use that food. Proceeds from the event will bring food to NJ food pantries and enable us to teach families with limited food budgets how to shop for and cook healthy meals through virtual nutrition/cooking lessons, using the “Cooking Matters” program curriculum. 4-H families can walk/run on their own or, better yet, create a team and fundraise in the name of their club or NJ 4-H. It’s an easy way for clubs or NJ 4-H as a whole to organize an easy community service project. "Be sure to sign up under NJ 4-H Team."
Food Pantry Service Project
Collect non perishable foods for food pantries and soup kitchens.You can search local food pantries at AmpleHarvest.org's Find a Pantry site.
Masks for Healthcare Workers
Sew masks for hospital and health care workers. Visit the pages below from the Atlantic Health System to learn how to make the masks and find locations where you can donate them.
Bring Cheer to Nursing Home Residents
Make cards and share pictures of your pets with local nursing home residents. All nursing homes are restricting visitors and would love anything to cheer them up! Call a local nursing home and see how you can deliver or mail these cards.
Thank Our Healthcare Workers
Make cards for nurses and medical staff in hospitals to thank them for their service. Send them snacks and other things to help them feel appreciated. Most of them are working long hours, are away from their families, and would love a thank you to know how much they are appreciated.
Help for Lonely Hospital Patients
Hospital patients recovering from COVID-19 are isolated and not allowed visitors and are lonely and bored (you can only watch so much TV. Send them encouraging notes and things to keep them busy such as cards, puzzle books, magazines and uplifting books. Even fuzzy socks and anything to cheer them up will help. Make sure you contact a local hospital to ask how you can make this happen.
Animal Shelters Need Our Help Too
Animal shelters are really hurting at this time due to cuts in staffing. This one requires a lot of buy in from parents but if your family is willing to foster (or adopt) a pet during this time it would help the shelters a lot! Check with local shelters to see if they still need donations of food and animal supplies.
Spread Positivity Locally
Here are two projects you can do in your own community.
- See if there are elderly in your neighborhood who need errands run for them. You can see if when your parents go to the store if they can grab and deliver items to them so they don't have to leave their homes. Ask if they need help with any outdoor chores.
- Paint a rock with bright colors and a positive message (you can also use permanent markers if you don’t have paint). Put the rock in a local park or playground (or somewhere public that would be allowed in your neighborhood) for others to find. Make sure you get permission from your parents before doing this project, and use safe social distancing when sharing your “positive message rock”!
Visit Here to See What You Can Do to Help in Your County
Burlington County: Please contact Gloria Kraft at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cape May: Please contact Linda Horner: email@example.com
Cumberland County: Please contact Cyndy Hetzell at Cyndyhe@co.cumberland.nj.us or call 609-420-7290.
Mercer County: Please visit mercer.njaes.rutgers.edu/4h and click on Service Projects.
Somerset County: Please check out 4histops.org/making-a-difference
Warren County: Please contact Alayne Torretta at Torretta@njaes.rutgers.edu