Giving Kids a Hands-on Mission Project: Highland Baptist Church in North Carolina

Work with the program Operation Kid-to-Kid to teach children to help their peers in need.

Provide a tangible way for kids in your church to reach out and help others by participating in Operation Kid-to-Kid, which serves children in need worldwide.

Rebecca Tassner was only 8 when Hurricane Katrina ripped through Louisiana in 2005. She didn’t witness the storm. She didn’t have family or friends there. But in the summer of 2009, she and her vacation Bible school peers at Highland Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C., made gifts to help other kids still suffering from the hurricane’s wrath.

Rebecca, 12 at the time, and hundreds of other children nationwide participated in Operation Kid-to-Kid, creating small, soft, green turtles known as Comfort Critters for kids in the United States coping with the aftermath of natural disasters. The stuffed toys included a hand-written note for each recipient.

“Mine said ‘Jesus loves you,’” Rebecca says. “I hope, when they get it, they’ll think somebody cares about them.”

Rebecca had participated in Operation Kid-to-Kid for three years and hoped other vacation Bible schools would adopt the program in the future.

“It’s a good ministry,” she says. “You can do it and feel good about yourself.”

Sharon Stratmoen, who leads vacation Bible school at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minn., has participated in Operation Kid-to-Kid for about a decade and says projects vary each summer. In 2009, the program focused on kids across the country who had been touched by tragedy.

Some churches sent the Comfort Critters to California wildfire victims, some sent them to Katrina survivors, and others sent them to those who were devastated by floods in Iowa.

“It’s a cool way for kids to serve other kids,” Stratmoen says. “The unique thing about this is that instead of collecting money, kids are actually doing something. It’s a hands-on service project.”

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