Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Backpacks: NOW is the time to get excited about this!

Just like the first daffodil in bloom signals the beginning of spring, the first sale on school supplies signals backpack season. The minute you see the big bins of crayons, pencils, glue sticks, and composition books beside a giant cardboard cut-out of a school bus at Target or Walmart, you can bet your sweet bippy that Sowers4Pastors is gearing up for backpack season.

The big bins of school supplies are out in force, and Allen has been buying and sending out thousands of backpacks in need of filling. If you've been thinking about filling backpacks, and you've waited to commit, it's still not quite too late! At this point, if you'd like to get involved, you will need to meet the Sowerses, with your backpacks, somewhere along the cross-country route they will driving for backpack collection.

To give you some idea of the time frame, they will begin collecting backpacks in the Seattle area during the first week of September. It will take about a month for the journey to end, though. So, the further along the route you are from Seattle, the more time you will have to fill backpacks. It’s not too late to get your church or other organization involved!

The rough travel route is Seattle, down through California to Phoenix, up to Colorado Springs, east on I-70 to Kansas, then up to Minnesota, to Chicago and then down through Indiana, hitting Columbus Ohio and then northeastern Ohio and Pennsylvania . . . down the west side of Pennsylvania to Maryland. That's the first part of the trip.

Then, starting up in Concord New Hampshire, down I-95 to Boston, through the eastern side of Pennsylvania, and along the east coast of Virginia, over to Atlanta, and back to the east to end up in New Smyrna Beach Florida.

The final leg includes Mississippi, the Florida panhandle, and central Florida, ending again in New Smyrna Beach.

If you're anywhere along that route, and you'd like to fill some backpacks, to help children in Honduras have the opportunity to go to school - NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT! Contact Trish at sowers4pastors dot com to get started.

Here are some tips, for handling the backpacks once they are filled with school supplies:

When fitting the backpacks into shipping boxes, please remember to fill the boxes to overflowing. Sometimes people think the boxes should be underfilled to keep them lighter. Sometimes people think it is more important to separate the backpacks going to sponsored kids from those going to non-sponsored children. However, a fully packed box takes priority over all other these other considerations. Sowers4Pastors uses medium size packing boxes from Home Depot. Having a standard box size allows them to fill the rental trucks to capacity! Once those boxes reach the shipping containers, they are stacked six boxes high. When you pile that many on top of the other, the boxes at the bottom become crushed or torn if they are not full. Torn, broken boxes create a mess on the Honduras end of things!

This video (here's the link, for those reading by email) gives you a sneak peak into
what happens with your boxes of backpacks, after they leave your hands . . . and 

how you can help ensure the safe delivery of these backpacks, and also lesson the
workload for the volunteers in Maryland and Florida, who help us prep
HUNDREDS of boxes of backpacks, for each shipping container!

Last year, in Florida and Maryland, where they do the prep work for the shipping containers, Sowers4Pastors had crews of volunteers unpacking and repacking the boxes. Any gaps were filled with used clothing. The video above should answer any questions you may have about the best way to pack a box.

Even though backpack season is a huge undertaking, it’s important to note that while Sowers4Pastors is working on backpacks, the other parts of their ministry continue. Even the backpacks are a part of a bigger picture. It is not strictly a humanitarian effort. Of course, the filled backpacks allow children to attend school. They also help the pastors connect with and serve their communities.

 - posted by Christi

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