August 2021
Portland Ecclesia
Beaverton, Oregon
Recipient: Vose Elementary   Initiative: Kits4Kids

One Friday afternoon some sisters and our Sunday School kids got together at the Portland meeting room to fill our Kits4Kids backpacks with school supplies.

Instead of the usual 24 backpacks, we had 48 – due to a mix up where we were sent 24 pink backpacks instead of assorted colors. This resulted in us keeping the pink ones and being sent 24 more in assorted colors. The backpacks were sturdy and of good quality.

The school which we picked was Vose Elementary because two of our kiddos attend the school, and Sister Aruni works there. Aruni contacted the Principal, who was delighted to accept the backpacks and supplies. The school provided us with lists of the equipment needed by 3rd – 5th graders, so we knew exactly what to buy.

The early birds set up the tables and laid out all of our items; then the idea was that we put one of each of the smaller items into pencil pouches (pencils, highlighters, dry erase markers etc.) and then one of each of the larger items (Crayola crayons and notepads etc.) into the backpacks. It sounds straightforward, but we had lots of things left over once the last backpack had been filled. This created a fun (?) quality assurance job for April and Thrusha, who valiantly went through all the backpacks to check that they were all fully equipped.

Once the job was done, we talked about Vose Elementary School – where the backpacks were being donated. Up to 80% of the children who attend Vose are on the U.S. school meal program and the school runs a food distribution scheme as many of the families are affected by food scarcity. It was pointed out to our children, that there are hundreds of verses in the Bible about helping others and sharing what we have, so we could be confident that our Father would be pleased with what we were doing: “Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who are kind to the needy honor him” (Proverbs 14:31). In a sense then, this initiative was actually an act of worship, as we were honoring God!

One of the middle school class then offered a short prayer to thank God for our food and to ask his blessing on the children at Vose. We shared some pizzas together and spent some lovely social time.

Tags were subsequently added to the back packs which read: “Enjoy your learning. You are capable of more than you know!” The ecclesia’s address and website were also on the tags (see photograph).

A few days later, Aruni arranged for us to drop the backpacks off at the school and meet the Principal, who was thrilled with our donation. We pray that the children who receive these gifts will have a great start to the school year, and that our Lord will bless them and reveal himself to them.

Thank you to The Garden Outreach Project for inspiring us to faith and good works!