If you belong to a parish, then summertime likely means an annual church picnic, festival or carnival. It’s a great time for fellowship with other members of the community, not to mention all of the family-friendly outdoor games and activities! If you’re looking to make this year’s picnic even better than last year’s, here are the best ways to contribute your time and talents.
Bring a Dish to Pass
The food is one of the best parts of every church picnic—it’s just so good! Members of the parish bring out their best tried-and-true potluck dishes. There will be an endless line of summer potluck salads, burgers and hot dogs, and maybe even corn on the cob. And if that wasn’t enough, there will be scores of pies, bars and cookies to indulge in. If you need some new ideas, take a look at these summer potluck desserts. Just make sure you bring a copy of the recipe, because people might ask for it!
Worried you’ll forget to take your dish home and it’ll be lost forever? Make your casserole or brownies in a 13×9 disposable aluminum pan ($10 for a pack of 10). That way, you don’t have to worry about getting your dish back at the end of the night.
Bring Something Besides Food
If your talents don’t lie in cooking, then think about non-food items you can bring. You’ll need lots of plates, cutlery and napkins, as well as plenty of tablecloths. They may not be the most glamorous contributions, but they’re absolutely essential. Plain, white disposable plates are a safe bet, especially if there are a lot of members in your church. But if you want to bring a little color to the party, opt for these super-summery plates ($16 for an 80-pack). And for a pop of color on the lawn, protect each table with a colored tablecloth, like this light blue polka-dot one ($16 for a 10-pack).
Help Set Up
Bringing a dish to pass is the most obvious way to help out, but don’t overlook the setup. This is a great way to volunteer, especially if you don’t have much left in your budget for the month. Get there early to set up all the tables and chairs, food stations and games. If you’re crafty, offer to make the centerpieces.
Taste of Home
- Flower arrangements: It’s likely some member of the church is a florist or has some flower arranging experience. Ask them to share their talent by creating floral centerpieces for the tables.
- Fruit bouquet: Make your own edible fruit arrangements—they’re easier to make than you think. This one is gorgeous!
- A bowl of candy: Set out bowls of M&Ms, skittles, jelly beans or other small candies for folks to much on while chit-chatting. Kids will especially love this tasty centerpiece.
- A colorful plant: Keep them all uniform or give each table a different color.
Pro tip: Give away the centerpieces as a door prize at the end of the night.
Man the Games and Activities
Every church picnic needs games and activities for the kids! Volunteer to set up the game stations, explain the rules (if needed), referee and keep an eye out for everyone’s safety.
Outdoor Games and Activities
- Cornhole: Set up a game of bags and let people’s competitive side come out.
- Tug of war: Grab a thick rope and gather the children for a friendly game of tug of war.
- Lawn bowling: If you have access to a large grassy area, then you have a great spot for lawn bowling. Set up the pins and wait for someone to get a turkey!
- Coloring: For a quieter activity, set up a coloring station. Ask parents to donate a few coloring books (did you know Taste of Home has a line of coloring books? Purchase one here.) and coloring supplies. Tear out pages for everyone to color, and let their creativity shine!
Volunteer to Clean Up
When the festivities are over, stay late and throw away all of the trash, pick up the games and tear down the table and chairs. Volunteering for a job no one else wants to do is much appreciated and a great way to serve your community.
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