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Catholic Charities' "The Helping Tree," teaches children ways to serve others

How do you show children the importance of serving others and its connection to our faith? Catholic Charities Maine Parish Social Ministry hopes to do it through the use of “The Helping Tree.”

Catholic Charities has produced a six-minute video which it is sending out to faith formation students and their families. Called “The Helping Tree,” the teaching tool gives children examples of how they can help others both at home and in their community, and it teaches them that, as Catholics, we are called by God to serve others, and when we do so, it strengthens our faith.

“We can grow our faith every day by doing small acts of kindness and helping others," Kim Suttie, pastoral life coordinator of Corpus Christi Parish in Waterville, shares with the children in the video.  

The roots of the “The Helping Tree” are Bible verses that highlight service to others such as “Let your light shine so that they see your good deeds” from the Gospel of Matthew and “The generous will be blessed” from Proverbs. Leaves added to the tree represent some of the ways we can help others.

The video also illustrates how Catholic Charities Maine serves thousands of people around our state, and it encourages the kids watching to help others in similar, if more simple ways. 

“For instance, CCM has a statewide homemaker service that is designed to allow people to stay in their own home by offering light housekeeping services.  The children watching can help in a similar way by assisting with chores around the house and helping their younger siblings to put away toys after playtime. This is just one example; there are more,” says Bill Wood, Parish Social Ministry outreach worker.

At the end of the video, kids and parents learn how they can download material to make their own helping tree, by going to www.ccmaine.org/helping-tree. There are also family prayers included to make the lesson on serving others complete!