Nothing says “Thanks for serving” like chocolate and other good eats.
Know your budget and decide what works best for your setting. If you are planning far enough in advance, there is a good chance that you could acquire some donations from stores and restaurants to supplement what your budget can’t handle!
Here are a few practical ways to incorporate food into your month of appreciation:
[ ] provide baskets of individually wrapped candy for volunteers and team members in strategic locations
[ ] prepare Sunday morning breakfast. Whether it is Bojangles heart-shaped biscuits (seasonal) or homemade egg and sausage casseroles, invite your volunteers to come a few minutes early to a designated location for the buffet style meal. Be sure to complete it with fresh fruit, coffee and juice. Fun heart themed paper products add to the decor and make for easy clean-up. If you’re extra ambitious, provide some type of breakfast each Sunday morning of the entire month. But, be warned that the first Sunday of March will be a let-down when breakfast isn’t available!!!
[ ] reserve a room at a local restaurant. This can be for volunteers only or for entire families of your team members. Promote the time and date for them to meet you there and share a meal and laughter and other fun surprises (including giveaways). The cost of the meal will likely need to be the responsibility of each person/family. If you ask in advance and explain that you are appreciating volunteers, you may be able to get some coupons or percentages off from the restaurant to give to your folks.
[ ] plan a Sunday Soup & Sandwich. Intended for the entire family of all your volunteers, prepare simple soup and sandwich options for them to enjoy together immediately after church on a Sunday. If you will have potentially large numbers, an RSVP is recommended. Provide nametags since some of your folks may not know each other. Fun surprises include something simple at each place setting OR a candy-bouquet centerpiece that also serves as a giveaway for each table. Again, Valentine-themed paper products fit your objective and make for quick and easy clean-up! Consider planning far enough in advance to recruit a couple of folks who would not be invited to this gathering to assist you with the decor, centerpieces, food prep and clean-up. Protect your sanity for a Sunday and get help for events like this!!!
[ ] provide a Grab & Go Meal. Maybe a full after-church-on-Sunday gathering isn’t an option for you. Consider a “grab and go” meal for your volunteer families. This is particularly do-able if you have a small number to provide for. Create a box or brown bag meal for each family including prepared items such as sub sandwiches, cups of soup, pb & j for the kids, bags of chips, carrots and other cut veggies, apples, bananas, individually wrapped packs of snack crackers and sweets. Have fun with the lunch-to-go and know that your volunteers will be ever grateful to not have to eat out or fix something quick at home. You have provided an easy answer for their hungry families and maybe even given the gift of time for a Sunday afternoon nap.
[ ] set up a Candy Buffet. Find a spot to be “extra sweet” to your folks and set up a candy buffet for them. Whether you go all red for heart month or you mix in lots of chocolate and such, you can’t go wrong with appreciating people via their sweet tooth. This effort can be as simple or elaborate, as expensive or frugal as you like. If you are tapping into someone else’s expertise and time to make this happen, be sure to talk through your expectations and budget to keep it on track.
No doubt you’ll think of other ways to say THANKS with sweets & eats. Have fun watching the smiles.