Backpack Buddies

 

SamsFoodDrive

St. John's Social Ministries Backpack Buddies program provides food on the weekends to children at a local school that wouldn't otherwise have food available.  We pack the food into plastic bags several times a month, then take it to the school to be put in the special backpacks that we provided.  We currently serve about 75 children each week with 2 breakfasts, 2 main meals, 2 snacks, and 2 drinks.

 

 BackpackBuddiesSign

Backpack Buddies began in September 2012 as a Servant Sunday project that quickly grew into a new ministry at St. John's.  When we first started we thought we could provide food on weekends to school children once a month for 75 children.  Little did we know the need in Spartanburg County for this ministry, and the number of hungry children.  It became a weekly ministry for 7 schools in 3 school districts, serving 215 children each week.  This all began in a Social Ministry meeting as a question: "I wonder if we have a hunger problem in school-age children in Spartanburg?"  On Homecoming Sunday, September 30, 2012, the food that had been collected was brought into the sanctuary to be blessed on carts and wagons.  It looked like a lot of food, but it was only the beginning of a committment to help feed hungry children for the 2012 - 2013 school year.

 

Buddie

 

 On average, it takes 10 volunteers about 5 hours per week to pack the bags and deliver them to the schools.  The project became too large for St. John's to handle alone, and we received support from other local churches; all working together with the goal of feeding hungry children on the weekends.  It all came together in an old, unused kitchen under our sanctuary without a lot of planning, to become a time of fun and fellowship while packing the food.

 

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 At the end of the 2012 - 2013 school year, we realized that this was too big for one church to handle.  We made some changes and split into groups for the 2013 - 2014 school year.  St. John's decided to provide for Mary H. Wright School, which had a need of up to 150 children per week.  The other schools were partnered with the churches that were already involved with the program, as well as some new churches that wanted to get involved, too.  We envision this program to continue to grow until every child will have food to eat on the weekends.  We have several collection boxes located throughout the church, and several local businesses are participating in collecting food for the program.  We were recently honored to have WSPA Channel 7 Caring For The Carolinas select us as the receipient of two of their local food drives, with several church members appearing on camera to say thank you.

 

 

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