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During the past few months, AARP and Create the Good® have been busy planning and hosting a series of virtual service projects. Hundreds of participants joined in the fun while they had the opportunity to make a difference, making pet toys, learning how to grow plants and vegetables, and painting rocks to spread joy and hope throughout communities.

If you weren’t able to make these live events, there’s good news: you can still join in the fun! Here are the summaries of the events, supply lists, and links to the videos so you can follow along.

Pet Toys from Tees with Project Canis

This September event featured members of the nonprofit organization Project Canis, who showed how to use everyday items to make pet toys for shelter dogs (or your own). Launched by students at the University of Florida, Project Canis is a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to ensure that every shelter animal has a toy. Many animal shelters struggle to get donations and are not financially able to provide toys, which are essential to animals' emotional and physical well-being. Project Canis addresses that need.

So far, the organization has donated more than 2000 toys to Florida shelters. Make one or two—or make a batch for your local animal rescue or shelter to add to the count.

Supplies needed:

Two or three old t-shirts or other fabric
Plastic water bottles
Get more information and instructions here.

View event here.

Soil to Sauté: A Virtual Volunteer Event

A third-generation farmer, a renowned chef, and other special guests delighted participants during Soil to Sauté, a virtual volunteer event in October presented by AARP Arkansas. Participants learned about gardening basics from Amanda Freund, part of the Freund family that owns Freund’s Farm and Cow Pots, a sustainable gardening product company. Then, Chef Ben Leonard gave them a cooking lesson right at home, showing them how to prepare a delicious shrimp pesto parsley dish.

If you’re hungry for some useful gardening tips and a tasty dinner, this is the event for you.

Supplies needed:

Find the ingredient list for the pasta dish here.

View event here.

Messages with a Mission

For people who are craving something a little creative—and want to spread joy to veterans and in their communities—Messages with a Mission fits the bill. This November virtual service project had hundreds of participants painting rocks with beautiful images and inspiring messages. Then, they were encouraged to share the rocks with veterans to brighten their day.

Rock painting is a fun, simple way to channel your creativity. Let your imagination be the limit: print joyful and hopeful messages or paint simple pictures. Then, seal the rocks and give them as small gifts to veterans or others or leave them throughout your community for neighbors to find them and share the joy.

Supplies needed:

Clean rocks (flat ones work best)
Acrylic paints and brushes (foam and/or flat-tip brushes)
Paint pens
Clear coat spray

View event here.