The School Supply Give Away at Trinity Episcopal Church in Logansport, Indiana is a mixture of organization and chaos. It is rewarding and frustrating at the same time as we know that not all needs are being met. Our goal is for every student and family who comes to us goes to school on that first day feeling good about themselves, with new supplies ready and eager to learn. Our program has been running for twelve years and it is an undertaking that requires advance planning as well as savvy shoppers. As soon as the event occurs we begin shopping for the next year!
This year almost nine hundred students received supplies and backpacks individualized by grade and school. Volunteers from our parish, the community, and the local work release program work together daily the week prior to the event to organize and fill our pews with bags of supplies. Our parishioners provide lunch for the volunteers each day which is a ministry in itself. (The work release individuals do not get home cooked meals at the facility.) By the end of the week, not only are the pews filled but the volunteers are filled also. Last year one of the work release volunteers asked me why we did this. It was a perfect opportunity to minister and share. During the event he looked at me and said, “Now I understand.”
Patrons line up at the front door of the church. After filling out a slip detailing the student’s grade and school, they are met at the front door by volunteers who retrieve the specific bags from the pews. Guests are then led to our parish hall where each student chooses a backpack. Backpacks and supplies in hand, the students then go into our parking lot where there is free popcorn, hot dogs, drinks, and even clothing. Families are free to take whatever clothing they want.
In the background there is guitar music and singing. And there is plenty of laughter and conversation. Volunteers seem to be everywhere packing more bags as the pews empty, cooking hotdogs, popping corn, meeting the needs of the multitude of people who come. Various social agencies have tables set up to let people know what services are available to them and their children so many questions are being answered.
It is our desire that each family feels welcomed, loved, and accepted. We are grateful for what God has given to us and we are grateful as a parish to share what we have been given.
- Written by The Rev. Clark Miller, Priest in Charge of Trinity Episcopal Church, Logansport