Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back To School Back Packs!

Last month, Faith United Church of Christ banded together to provide home-made backpacks for students at Mark Twain Elementary School.  Altogether, 160 backpacks were distributed to students.  Each backpack was filled with needed school supplies, such as notebooks and folders and pencils and tissues.  Project organizer Pam Zehr shared the recent observations in the church's September 2011 newsletter:
How do I thank a community of people for believing in a cause so deeply? For rallying around a neighborhood. For supporting children and families we’ve never met, just because it’s the right thing to do. Not just say the words, but put energy and effort and resources behind those words. I’m quite at a loss.

We asked for zip lock bags, and created a Zip Lock Lincoln Log train car that was stacked so high it risked toppling. We asked for pencils, and received so many our Pencil Platform was overflowing. We asked for tissues, and the A’Cho Cho Train stretched full circle (and then some!) around the entire sanctuary with 165 “box cars” of tissues placed end to end. It was an amazing sight to behold. We asked for money to purchase additional supplies, and as the receipts are totaled we should have money left over for next year. Again, an incredible response to our calls for help.

I asked for help sewing the backpacks and had 12 eager volunteers. Together we stitched 200 backpacks of different designs and fabrics that will hopefully be enjoyed and last beyond the school year.

We asked for help packing the backpacks, and had an astonishing turn out. So many volunteers stayed after church that Sunday that we stood shoulder to shoulder in the large classroom. We had people stationed at the school supplies, and people carrying bags around the room, looking like Trick or Treat-ers as they filled their sacks with bright, new school supplies. It was a joyous event, full of fun and laughter and the occasional reprimand for rowdy behavior (you know who you are). In the end, 160 backpacks filled with grade appropriate school supplies lined the church hallway, eagerly awaiting a student to select them and take them home.

We asked for help carrying all the bulk items and backpacks to Twain, and Gordon and Ben Borgstahl jumped in and had the task practically completed before we even arrived. And we asked for help at the distribution, and had a willing crew of Ev, Eadie, Ann Z. and Julianne assist the children as they checked in and selected their bags.

We constantly asked for help. You responded with unmatched enthusiasm, with a generosity of resources and energy that has me at a loss of words. Together we “did good work.” We did the work of Christ. It was an honor to walk His walk with you.
Below are pictures and video of the day when the Faith folks gathered together to pack the backpacks.  It was a fun experience and hopefully that shows through.  Enjoy!

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