Hello, Back Pack Blessings Volunteers and Partners!
We hope you had an awesome summer and wanted to catch you up on all the action now that school is back in session. After having operations interrupted for 18 months due to the pandemic, we are so excited to once again be providing students with back packs and love!
Since early March, Back Pack Blessings lost access to the children that we serve at Fair Oaks Elementary, Acworth Elementary, and the Salvation Army's after school program, because schools were closed and no one was allowed on school property. We were very quickly transitioned from serving individual children to assisting in serving families in the Fair Oaks community. This was only made possible by partnering with Mosaic Church(located very close to the school) as well as several agencies. We started collecting food, diapers, and personal hygiene products at the Cagle House. Once again, Mt. Bethel and Back Pack Blessings volunteers rose to the occasion and donated massive amounts of supplies. Each week we deliver those supplies to the Mosaic Church to include in their distribution to families in the area.
God is good ... The Back Pack Blessings team was faced with a declining balance in funds as we approached year-end. We were also a bit tired as we were approaching our tenth year of service and, yes, we are human, and doubt started to ease into our thoughts. Is this what God has intended for our service? We evaluated several alternatives and agreed to pray for guidance. Guidance came in the form of God speaking to us that He would decide! He would let us know when our mission was ending. He would provide the proper resources and, our job as servants, was to do just that -- serve. Suffice it to say that, by the end of the year, our finances were shored up by several donations and we achieved the required reserve level to commit to this semester and even the next. Once again, I have learned that what we do is much more far-reaching than providing food to those in need. Much more! What a lesson we've learned and, in our hearts, God has reinforced our service to Him. What we do really matters!
Asmany of you know,this isour 9th year serving food insecure children in Cobb County. You know that because you have been working with us side-by-side for many of those years! It ishard to believe that 18%of elementary school children are not getting enough food, especially during the weekend,to sustain a nourished body ready to learn on Monday. Back Pack Blessings,with the support of Mt. Bethel Church, our volunteers,and our donors combine to allow us to serve thisneed on a consistent,Christ-centered basis. We provide much needed food for these children to get through the weekend. But,at the top of the list isdemonstrating Christian values. As long aswe continue to have the support from those mentioned above, we will continue to work hard and lead thiseffort in our community. God blessyou and your families. Happy Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for.
It wasabout ten yearsago that we pitched the idea to Mt.Bethel UMCabout providing food to elementary "food insecure" children. The idea was received with enthusiasm but it appeared a great deal of research would be needed to get such a venture off the ground! No need to worry, though ...God stepped in and the idea took off! Within a few weeks,a team of dedicated Christians from Mt.Bethel with a "let'sget it done" attitude was formed. A former teacher who understood the huge need for this ministry recommended Fair OaksElementary School as the target. After the first meeting with the principal,we knew we had the perfect match! A week later, the church provided access to the Cagle House. All the pieces came together. We had a team, a place, and a school with a great principal, staff, and student body. Thiswill be our 9th year and the original team is still serving!
We are almost ready to finish our 8th year of the Backpack ministry by serving close to 600 children per week during this school year. This would not have been possible without constant prayer, a remarkable volunteer team, a supportive Church, and a dedicated board of directors.
People involved in all kinds of mission work often comment about the positive impact their service has on their own perspective, heart, and relationship with God. They set out to serve with a genuine desire to help others, but find themselves forever changed by the very people they seek to help! This is how those serving through Backpack Blessings feel about our friends at Fair Oaks Elementary, who never cease to amaze us with their grateful attitudes and loving hearts.