Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Backpacks: Let's Get Those Kids to School!

True confession: Whenever Allen asks for a post on backpacks, I can’t get Dora the Explorer’s backpack song out of my head. Do you know the one of which I speak? It’s a catchy little ditty.

Backpack, backpack!
Backpack, backpack!

On the backpack loaded up with things and knickknacks, too
Anything that you might need I’ve got inside for you

Backpack, backpack!
Backpack, backpack!

[Note from Trish: if you're as culturally outdated as I am (an occupational hazard, for overseas missionaries) and you're not familiar with Dora's song, you can hear it in the very short video below. It really is awfully catchy!]

Dora’s backpack isn’t the only one loaded up with things people need. The backpacks filled for Sowers4Pastor’s Backpack Project are loaded up with school supplies and toiletries, which make a huge difference in the lives of children in Western Honduras. It can be the deciding factor on whether or not they get an education at all! Even though this project generally hits full swing in the fall, it’s never too early to start planning a backpack filling extravaganza! This can be particularly appealing for people who aren’t interested in sponsoring one child over the long haul, but would like to help out in another way. It’s also good for people who are sponsoring a child, and would like to fill an extra backpack (or several) for children who don’t yet have sponsors.

If your church, AWANA group, Scouting group, neighborhood, business, homeschool co-op, local school, etc., is looking for a great project, this may be just the thing for you! You don’t even have to come up with the backpacks because Allen will send you all you need. All you have to do is keep your eye out for some good sales and purchase the items to fill the backpacks.

Here’s a list of items to include in each backpack:
  • 8 spiral notebooks
  • 10 pencils
  • 2 large pink erasers
  • Pencil sharpener
  • 2 boxes of 24 crayons, or 2 packs of 12 colored pencils for older children
  • 4 toothbrushes
  • 1 large tube of toothpaste
  • 1 bar of soap with a washcloth
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • Pens (2 red, 2 blue, 6 black)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Glue or glue stick

Optional items include:
  • Soccer ball
  • Matchbox cars
  • Barbie, baby doll, or stuffed animal
  • Baseball cap
  • Comb
  • Hair accessories for girls

Really, it couldn’t be much simpler! And, if you pay attention to your local sales circulars, you’re sure to come across some awesome deals at back to school time. A savvy shopper can fill one backpack with all of the essentials for around $15. In Honduras, those same supplies have a value of about $100! That’s a lot of cash for parents with small incomes--particularly, if they need to purchase supplies for more than one child. As Allen said, “One of the things we’re seeing is, if you’re going to change a society and help bring them up out of an 1880’s lifestyle, a key way is to make sure the children get an education.” A simple way to improve their opportunity to receive an education is to ensure they have the necessary tools for learning!

You may have participated in the Gifts for Gracias shoebox drive, in the past. While you’re still more than welcome to fill and donate shoebox gifts, the backpacks have been such a big hit with the children and their families, as well as with donors, that the program has undergone an evolution. If you need a refresher about the specifics, you can find them here .

Are you motivated to help? The next post will tell you how the backpacks get from you, to Allen and Trish.

Backpack, backpack!
Backpack, backpack!

 - posted by Christi

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