“Trash for Ann”, - that was a common phrase you might have heard around the church last spring and it has still been repeated several times since Vacation Bible School last year. Although we laughed about how we were collecting trash and recyclables (and a room in the north building of our campus started to look like a dumpster) we were doing it for a very important reason.
For the past five years, our church has chosen to do a mission-focused VBS theme. When we were thinking about VBS 2019, we came up with several options and at the top of that list was “caring for the earth.” This was a priority because we felt our children needed to hear about how God made the earth for us and how our job is to love and care for it. We wanted to take it one step further and talk about practical ways that we care for God’s beautiful creation.
In order to make this come to life, we committed ourselves to only using things
we already had, such as donated trash and recyclables. However, we did make a few exceptions based on logistics: food, t-shirts, and things that would make us more environmentally friendly like reusable plates and water bottles. Here are a few highlights of what we did in order to stand by our commitment of caring for God’s creation:
- All of our decorations and crafts were made of donated and scavenged trash/ recyclables.
- We made sure there were trash AND recycling bins in each classroom or space that we were using. We had a guest speaker come and present to the kids about what can be recycled and how to recycle at home. Our older kids (grades 3-5) talked about what it meant to be “green” and how we could be more “green” at PHPC.
- We purchased reusable plates, cups and water bottles to serve snacks. We researched environmentally friendly paper towels and kitchen cleaner (ideally we would not have used paper towels but for logistical reasons we had to).
- We had a Trashion Show! This was one of our best VBS activities ever! Our kindergarten through fifth graders spent the week designing outfits out of trash we had collected. Then we had a fashion show so they could present what they made for the preschoolers.
- Traditionally we print label name tags off every day for each kid, which ends up being around 800 name tags. This year we used name tag lanyards. This doesn’t seem like a big shift, but it was for us and we loved it.
We learned a lot last year and although we cannot commit to only using things we have every year, we will carry over a lot of the things we learned. We will continue to use reusable plates and water bottles and are rethinking the way we do crafts. The overall goal is to create less waste and in the process tell our kids why.
This year our theme is PHPC Feed and our focus organization is Meals on Wheels. Summer sign-ups have only been open for a month and we already have over 90 registrations for VBS. We would love to have you join us the week of June 8-12. Learn more and register at phpc.org/kidssummer