I remember with fondness the community celebrations our town put on each year. As a child I loved to go to these…the Sweet Pea Festival, which happened each year in August, was one of my favorites. There were booths with food, artwork by local artists, games and face painting for the kids, and live music under the trees or on the old wooden outdoor theater. Children roamed the aisles of booths, sticky with cotton candy. We played on the playground to the sounds of folk guitar and thumping rock, parents lounged under spreading trees and talked while we glued wood shavings onto foam meat trays and wiggled on folding chairs while teen-aged volunteers painted butterflies on our faces. We saw friends we hadn’t seen in a long time, caught up with neighbors, laughed and chatted with our plastic cups of gritty lemonade.
Celebrations! They bring a community together, don’t they? There’s nothing like a good party to give a group of people a chance to relax, get to know each other and enjoy one another’s company. As a smaller community, our family loves to get together with friends and play games. Card games, board games, charades…my favorites are the games that don’t take much concentration and can be played while a lively conversation is in progress.
If a party can draw a traditional community together, can it also help build a virtual one? At High Calling Blogs, there’s a party going on! Tuesday I posted about community becoming the hands and feet of God through working together for a good cause. HCB’s Card Party blends celebration with service by asking members to join together and throw a card party for charity.
The idea is to collect gift cards with money still left on them. A few dollars, a hundred dollars…whatever you’ve got and feel led to give. Write the amount left on the card in permanent marker (if you don’t know the amount, give the company a call at the number on the back of the card, or go to their website and check it that way). The cards can then be sent in to Marcus at The High Calling Blogs (address below) and he will compile them and send them to GiftCardGiver, an organization that uses the cards to purchase goods for people in need. Here’s the address:
H.E. Butt Foundation
719 Earl Garrett
P.O. Box 290670
Kerrville, TX 78029-0670
Now the fun part! What about getting your community involved? Your local friends and family, or your blogging community, maybe your child’s elementary school…scouts, church groups, anyone who might want to help out. Throw a party! Invite people over to play games or cards, or to watch a movie, or just to hang out and relax and eat some good desserts or h’ours dourves. If you’re throwing a game party, consider offering prizes for the winner and consolation prizes for the loser (oops, maybe “winning challenged” is a better term?). Entry to the party? Gift cards, of course! Decorate a basket and keep it at the door to collect the cards.
Or, just get the word out to others that the Card Party is going on. Send them a link to the Card Party post at HCG, or send them a note in the mail explaining the project. Collect the cards from friends, family, schools etc. and send them in.
Finally, post an online Card Party! The more parties going on, the better. Grab the button off the sidebar here and post it on your website, then blog something about cards…gift cards, playing cards, a picture, a few words, a photo journal of your actual card party, whatever you feel like doing.
Let’s see what our online community can do! Celebrate together, serve together, and make a difference in the real world. I’m so excited to see what we’re able to accomplish!
And, just to sweeten the pot…I’m offering a door prize to the person who contributes the most cards by March 18, 2009. That’s right! I’ll mail you a Real, non-virtual prize if you manage to collect the most cards and send them in to Marcus before March 18th. The prize?
A gift card, of course! A $15.00 Starbucks gift card of your very own, mailed right to your door.
So grab your cards, pop a little popcorn and join the party! I hope to see you there.