Five youth from the United Methodist Church in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, hosted a Festival of Fun for the children in the community. At least 30 members from the congregation offered their support in some way to the five youth to help host the festival.
“Smiles, laughter, prizes, and the Gospel of Mark went home with the 100 parents and children who participated,” says Rev. Sheri Fadley, who services Belle Fourche UMC.
The Angel Store is a local thrift store for clothing and household items, and a food pantry that serves the community of Belle Fourche. At Christmas time, the youth came up with the idea of creating some fun events for families to do while the Angel Store was open.
The group worked hard for several weeks planning the festival. They spent time decorating and setting up game booths. The planners realized early on that they would need the congregation’s help and sent out invitations to a variety of adults asking them to help in specific ways.
The youth, along with friends and members of the congregation, held a variety of activities that night: fish and duck ponds, corn hole, Mario Cart competitions, face painting, cupcake walk, arts and crafts, and bingo.
The youth also invited two organizations that use the church building to participate in the evening’s events. The Girl Scouts used it as their launch event for their cookie fundraiser. The JuJitsu school performed three demonstrations of self-defense to the children and parents.
Some of the members of the congregation prepared and served walking tacos as a light supper. Other members were able to contribute by donating cupcakes for the cupcake walk.
As a way to live out their church’s vision statement, “Together, we bring God’s love to life” the youth encouraged participants to bring non-perishable food items for the local food pantry, or drop off clothing or household goods for the Angel Store. The grocery cart was overflowing by the end of the night, and many bags of clothes were also dropped off.
The Angel Store was also open that night, so families could drop in to see if there was something there that they could use.
Fadley says, “The youth were happy that they could be vessels of God’s love into the young children’s lives.”