This was kinda off the cuff and organised within two days. Basically, the kids go down a main street of town, asking shop owners for free stuff.
We found asking politely helps.
“Hi we’re from such and such church/youth group. We were wondering if you had any free stuff you could give us. See, we’re competing with another team to see how generous businesses are in such and such town/city.”
Or something like that. We got some no’s, but plenty of yes’s.
Some of the more unusual items were an apron and fake flowers, a dog biscuit and a soft toy. We hit the fast food places, and got cups, chopsticks etc. A video store gave us some posters. It was great fun and it was amazing to see how many people thought it was amusing and got into the spirit of it.
Its easy to organise, just make sure you have at least one leader per team. It doesnt matter what time of day you do it either. We did it on a Saturday night and found a lot of shops were closed, so perhaps a Friday night might be better. It can be fun competing against another team and telling a business not to give anything to the other team. The Sunday following our pastor had the youth get up and explain what they did and what they got.
Give it a try, especially if you have a youth group that are energetic and very forward. Teaches the kids how to be polite and shows them that not everyone in the world is mean.