Potato Farms, T-shirt dresses and School Kits – Service

by Darla on July 8, 2009

in Service

As a child, our family participated in a welfare project which was a potato farm sponsored by our church.  Our church family, planted, weeded and dug up the potatoes.  It built camaraderie, friendship and love for others as we worked side by side on a common goal.

President Spencer W. Kimball taught, “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other. … So often, our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving mundane help with mundane tasks, but what glorious consequences can flow from mundane acts and small but deliberate deeds!” (Ensign, December 1974, page 5).

Our service need not wait until we devise some elaborate means or project. Often the simplest, most obvious thing is what is needed most, like a thought expressed by telephone or a note in the mail.

This video and others inspire me to move out of my place of comfort.
These are things that we’ve participated in regularly….

Serving a meal to..

men who are distanced from their families,

families new to our area both in an out of our faith

those needing a lift – spiritual or physical

Helping new families to find their way around the city and provide much needed information before they arrive.

Passing along our quality used clothing, household items or books.

Making sack lunches – included bottle of water, fruit, granola bar etc.  I’ve also read where these types of non perishable items to keep in your car and give to homeless people from your car.

Helping with church beautification

Making school kits for children in disaster situations

Knitted caps

Taking cookies or other baked items to someone in the neighborhood.

This list provides 148 other ideas for serving.


Learning to serve others can teach:

  • Satisfaction and joy in a job well done, A sense of accomplishment, Education in essential practical skills, open hearts and minds, and Realization of self-worth

What are some projects that you’ve participated in as a school, church or just your family that worked well?

It seems to me that those projects that work best are those that incorporate many areas of your life and fit as a natural extension of what you are presently doing.  IE  If you go to the park alot it would be easy to have the children pick up the trash quickly before they play.  Our daughter did this when she learned to knit using looms.  She started by knitting hats for premature babies which finish up quickly and are quite easy to make. She then donated the hats to our local hospital.

My heart has been moved by one family’s project to help others.  Village of Hope Our friend Janet went with her son as part of his eagle scout project.  One of the needs there were t-shirt dresses for the little girls.  Providence lent a hand in the project and t-shirts were obtained at a fantastic deal of about $2 per t-shirt.  The fabric to attach at the bottom for the skirt was available for $1.50 locally.  $3.50 for a simple vibrant dress.  They are turning out so incredibly cute.  Her goal is that 100 t-shirt dresses will be made in time to go next June when they return go on the expedition.

Here is a link of what they can look like.  http://www.sewfunpatterns.com/tshirtdresspattern.html They do not need to be this fancy.

We measured the length from the under arm to the bottom of the t-shirt to get the length of our fabric plus an inch for hems.

Measure the bottom of the t-shirt and x2 to get the width.

Cut your fabric and sew into a tube

hem the bottom using 1/2 inch.

run a gathering stitch around the top and gather to the measurement for the bottom of the shirt.

Sew it on and you are done.

Here are other free simple patterns for humanitarian projects.  LDS Philanthropies

This fall our focus is learning/improving sewing skills.  Quilts are a part of our history studies.  There is an opportunity for us to make quilts for the Village of Hope Project.  They are building housing for the workers to stay right on site.  The accommodations are simple and the quilts will add cheer.  Another idea is to make canvas bags for school kits.  Then our home school community or church group can fill them with supplies.  Our contribution will be the bags.  When I shared my idea with Janet she told me that school kits had been on her mind for weeks as well.  Whether it’s quilts, school kits or hygiene kits or some other inspiration serving others is a project that we are looking forward too.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: