Updated: May 29
Eight years ago the Bodmin Team of Churches Mission Group decided to fill prettily covered shoe boxes with activity items for the children of local families on low income. The initial idea was that the contents would be helpful in keeping young people occupied, amused and educated during the long school Summer holiday. The boxes are taken to Social Services for distribution by the Family Assessment team and Children’s Disability team who are very grateful and have found a myriad of ways to help the appreciative families use them. The first
batch of 18 proved to be so popular that we have provided boxes at the beginning of July every year since and in 2019 managed to fill 28. They will be even more important this year as parents have had to educate and play with their children for a much longer time than usual and will need the extra stimulus that is provided.
The Social Services teams suggested we include toothpaste and toothbrushes, for those with poor dental hygiene, so that parents can make cleaning teeth fun and not a chore, plus shower gel, soap and face cloths for those who go on a CHICKS break but do not have the
required toiletries. Usually the boxes are filled with colouring pens, pencils, crayons and paper; magic painting, note, colouring and simple reading books; small toys; card games such as Happy Families and Snap; skipping ropes; coloured pipe cleaners; modelling clay;
paints and brushes; sewing cards; glue sticks; puzzles; bubbles; etc. As some children possess few, if any, toys, we are assured that the boxes are greeted with delighted little faces and are used by Social Services to build self confidence in children with fears and anxieties; to help parents with ideas for playing and making things with their children; to provide an opportunity for conversation about worries, wishes and hopes; to give distraction to siblings
while focussing on one child; in teaching parents, who struggle with behaviour, to concentrate on the positive, by reward of an item from the box, rather than the negative
of scolding. The families are informed that the boxes are provided by Christians from the Bodmin Team of Churches. It is a valuable lesson in Mission and showing local families how
much we care.