When Sowers4Pastors goes shopping, it looks a little different than when you or I go shopping. It’s not that I don’t love a good bargain and buying in bulk. Ask anyone at my local Costco about my purchase history and they can tell you how much I love my five pound blocks of cream cheese and jars of organic salsa. But even I have never purchased 4500 backpacks! Allen and Trish recently did just that.
Don’t worry. They are not going to be on an episode of “Hoarders”. The Sowers are gearing up for a backpack project that would give Dora the Explorer something to sing about! Their goal is to get a total of about 5000 backpacks into the hands of children who go to the feeding centers. Of course, empty backpacks aren’t going to have much impact. That’s where you come in.
Filling Needs, One Backpack at a Time
You have an opportunity to fill a backpack with school supplies for a child in Western Honduras. If you’re thinking some basic items like crayons, pencils, pens, erasers, and notebooks won’t have much impact on a child’s life, think again. This is exactly the kind of practical support these kids need.
Allen would like you to contemplate what people need to get ahead in life. In addition to a relationship with God, people benefit from having their basic needs met. The feeding centers are already operating to provide nutritious food and some basic medical care. Surely, one of the next needs is that of an education. But how can a child receive an education without simple things like paper and pencils?
This project started out as a way for U.S. churches involved in the Sister Church Program, and individuals involved with Manna 4 Lempira to connect with the children they are sponsoring. It’s a way for them to provide meaningful support to the Honduran kids they sponsor. Then Allen thought, “Why should those folks have all the fun?”
Who Can Fill a Backpack?
- Are you not involved in the Sister Church Program, but you do sponsor a child through Manna 4 Lempira? If so, you can fill a backpack! There are backpacks available for people who are sponsoring a child and would love to help their sponsored child (and others!) to school with necessary supplies.
- Are you not involved in the Sister Church Program, and you don’t sponsor a child? If so, you can fill a backpack! There are backpacks available for people who aren’t ready to make a yearlong commitment to the sponsor a child, but would love to help send a child or children to school with necessary supplies.
- Would your entire church, Sunday school class, or children’s department like to participate in a project where you know exactly where your items are going? If so, you can all fill backpacks! Maybe you already fill shoeboxes in the fall. That’s great! You can fill backpacks in the summer! If your church is interested, send Allen an email and he will happily supply the backpacks. He says he can get a hundred or more backpacks in your hands within two weeks time! Currently, churches in Columbus, Oh, Edgewater, FL, Walkersville, MD, Jacksonville, FL, and Atlanta, GA are having drives to fill backpacks.
Fill as many as you can while the back-to-school sales have items marked down to ridiculously low prices. Really. When crayons are going for $0.25 a box, can you really afford not to buy a bunch? Plus, since not every child has a sponsor, filling additional backpacks will allow EVERY child at the feeding centers to receive school supplies. Last year, the Sowers purchased enough supplies to fill the deficit because they refuse for there to be a scenario in which only some children receive a gift while others look on longingly.
If you would like to participate, but would rather have someone else do the shopping, that’s fine, too. You can earmark donations and Allen will do some bargain hunting on his next visit to the states. Sowers4Pastors will also be providing a pair of leather school shoes for each child, but they will do the shopping for that, due to the need to order specific sizes. They are able to buy shoes for $13 a pair. Any donations will be most welcome.
Allen will be making a trip to the U.S. and will be in Florida, Atlanta, GA, Maryland, Columbus, OH, and the Pittsburgh, PA area. He will happily pick up completed backpacks or school supplies, which have been sorted into Ziplock bags and are ready to be transferred to the backpacks.
If your group is worried about how to get the supplies to their final destination, send Allen an email (allen @ sowers4pastors.com). He will figure out a way to get them from you!
- posted by Christi
- posted by Christi