Friday, August 26, 2016

The Gifts for Gracias information you've been asking for --- IS HERE!

“But that’s how it has ALWAYS been done,” said no Sowers ever! Nope. If there’s one thing you can say about the Sowers crew, it’s that they’re adaptable. They know that sometimes you have to change how something has always been done. Currently, that means there are some changes in the Gifts for Gracias program.

I sort of feel this post needs a timeline to show how things have evolved. Instead, I’ll simply try to hit the main changes with bullet points.

  • In the beginning, Gifts for Gracias consisted of people assembling shoeboxes filled with gifts. Those boxes were shipped to Honduras, where Sowers4Pastors made certain they got into the appropriate recipients. Most were used as gifts for pastors and their families, and extras went to orphans and needy families.
  • Then more and more people started sending bulk items in addition to shoebox gifts. That made a lot of sense because it allowed people to take full advantage of any great deals they ran across. Sowers4Pastors took all the various bulk items, assembled gifts on site, and made certain that all of the gifts got into the hands of appropriate recipients.

This year, in addition to Gifts for Gracias, the Sowers have also initiated the Backpack Project.

  • Some people are filling (and personalizing) backpacks with school supplies for the children they sponsor in the Manna 4 Lempira program. Those backpacks will be shipped to Honduras, where Sowers4Pastors will make certain they get into the hands of the correct children.
  • Allen was able to make an amazing purchase of great backpacks at a low price, and the Sowers have a few individuals in the US purchasing school supplies for them, at back-to-school sale prices, so that all of the Manna 4 Lempira children - whether or not they have been sponsored - will receive backpacks and supplies.

  • Churches in several states have received backpacks from Allen, and individuals in these locations are taking it upon themselves to fill these backpacks with school supplies. These will be collected, transported to Honduras, and distributed through the Gifts for Gracias project.
  • This year, Sowers4Pastors is helping a local, missionary-run boarding school (which educates at-risk children from all over Honduras, preparing them to be a force of change in Honduras), by providing backpacks and school supplies for their 600 students - a big undertaking!

Here’s the deal: With both of those projects - Gifts for Gracias and the Backpack Project - going on simultaneously, it makes sense to consolidate them into one super-duper colossal project. By consolidating, every child at every sponsorship center, all of the students at the boarding school, and all of the school-aged children of the pastors receiving a Gifts for Gracias box should be able to receive a backpack filled with much needed school supplies!

But, again, the Sowers are adaptable. If creating shoebox gifts is your passion, then absolutely fill those shoeboxes with reckless abandon! If you want to fill backpacks with school supplies - that's great too! If you feel led to send bulk donations, send them! If you have new or gently used clothing that you want to go to good use, send those! It will all be welcomed with open arms and grateful hearts - and it will all be used to bless individuals in western Honduras! Here is a list of suggested items, to use in filling backpacks: 8 spiral notebooks 10 pencils
pens (2 red, 2 blue, 6 black) ruler scissors glue or glue stick 2 lg pink erasers pencil sharpener 2 boxes of 24 crayons OR 2 packs of 12 colored pencils for older kids 4 toothbrushes 1 lg tooth paste 1 bar soap with washcloth 3 pr socks optional items: soccer ball matchbox cars Barbie, baby doll, or stuffed animal Baseball cap Comb Hair accessories for girls

Donations (including items for the backpack project) can be mailed to: Gifts for Gracias c/o Jim Cofer
7047 Blue Mountain Road
Thurmont, MD 21788

or to Gifts for Gracias c/o Terry Shores
1557 Lewis Lane
New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168 Donations can also be dropped off in person at the following churches (call ahead for details on when donations can be dropped off in these locations): Fredericktowne Baptist Church Walkersville, MD

Life Community Church
Hilliard, OH


Jules said...

So it is still OK to send bulk items and ideas from the other years (kitchen things, clothes, etc) or do you just want school supplies? Assuming the confusion is b/c of me and not your post! :)

If you want, I can take a pix of what I have and send it to you privately. What is the date they need to be in MD?

Trish said...

Yes, Jules, it is absolutely okay to send those items!

We are hoping to ship the container in mid November, so shipping donations to MD by the first week of November should be your goal! I appreciate your help with this every year!