July 2021
Schooley’s Mountain Ecclesia & Onesimus
New Jersey
Recipient: East Stroudsburg Area School District   Initiative: Kits4Kids

I live in a typical middle class, small town in America. We have a University, public library, excellent hospital, thriving Main Street, and good school systems. And yet the poverty rate hovers just about at the National Average – 17.5%.

As a teacher, that means when I look around my room, about 4 students in EACH CLASS come from families struggling just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table each month. For me, that means 16 kids a day that I KNOW, that I TEACH, that I have RELATIONSHIPS WITH.

It is easy to think we don’t have the poor among us, that they are far off in Third World nations, but it isn’t the truth. We may not see them in our own neighborhood or in the shops we frequent, but the poor ARE INDEED right in our communities. As Jesus said, “You always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good to them.”

With the help of Operation Onesimus and The Garden’s Kits4Kids initiative, the Schooley’s Mountain ecclesia of New Jersey was able to provide some help to struggling families in the East Stroudsburg Area School District. Backpacks full of school supplies for children in Kindergarten to 2nd grade were delivered to the district. This is the district my children grew up in and it was wonderful to see my daughter, Sister Elise (now 19) reconnect with her 1st grade teacher through this project. We know from first hand experience what a difference the backpacks will make in the lives of these children.

I would strongly recommend this project for any ecclesia or CYC of any size. The cost is small and the impact great. Every community has students in their schools who need assistance and this is a fantastic morale booster for these kids. It is so important that they feel good about their educational experience and invested in learning. Call your local school district to find out how you can help. Then apply for the FREE backpacks and $100.00 grant from The Garden. We spent $375.00 ($275.00 of ecclesial donations plus the grant) and COMPLETELY STUFFED 24 backpacks with school supplies including some healthy snacks and handmade cards to the kids!

“You always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good to them” (Mk 14:7)