Backpacks Galore!

F or the first time in my 5 years packing backpacks (3 years facilitating), we started at 9AM on Saturday morning and finished at 2:30 PM and were DONE. No double checking, no doubting that the backpacks had the correct supplies in them. As far as I know, the last of them will be picked up tomorrow morning and just over 500 kids will have brand new backpacks with brand new school supplies in them in their hands by the weekend.

Hallelujah and Praise God!

I absolutely love packing backpacks and I love facilitating this outreach and it feels SO good to have a system in place now that works and works well. The only thing we need to add is a few hands to our Friday night set- up. Oh...and I'll be taking Friday off from work next year. We started set up Friday night at 6PM. I left the church at 12:38 AM. It was a LOT of work setting out all of the supplies. We used 5 elementary Sunday school classrooms and set backpacks up by grades (PK/K, 1st-3rd, 4th & 5th, 6th-9th and 10th-12th). We further break that down by boys & girls. The last thing we want is to send a 6th grade boy a pretty pink backpack... Set up took longer than packing. We'll use more hands next year for sure!

Here are just some of the boxes we unpacked, full of supplies and backpacks.

This is Janelle. She is an awesome senior who chose to take on backpacks as her senior project this year. In Washington State, seniors are required to pick a subject or topic and, in intense detail, describe how to complete said project from beginning to end. In this case, Janelle will document just what it takes to provide 500 children in area shelters with backpacks and school supplies, the work that goes into gathering the children's information from the shelters, ordering the supplies, set up, packing and delivery. She was supposed to put at least 20 hours into her project. By the time we finished Friday night she had somewhere around 18...and packing and delivery definitely put her over the top. She was an incredible help, though. I can't tell you how many times I'd panic about something that would need doing and then the relief would flood when I remembered that Janelle had it this year...

Here are just a few of the amazing volunteers we had helping us...

And here are the packed backpacks:

I love this job! God is always so amazing and good to us through this, too. We always have enough in the way of donations and supplies to provide backpacks to every child who needs one.

If anyone is wondering at the decor of our Sunday school classrooms, when we bought our building and remodeled, our kids church area was given an incredible overhaul. For our preschool, each room is decorated in an animal theme (penguins, tigers, lions, camels, etc.) and the animals are pre-school appropriate. The elementary classrooms are decorated in country themes. We have India, Morocco, Mongolia, Ethiopia and more. The "stuff" in the rooms represent daily life in each of those countries. It's an amazing set up and I love roaming through our elementary wing. Our children's pastor is simply brilliantly creative.

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische

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