Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church

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Clergy Corner

Who Packed Your Backpack?

  • The Rev. Bob Dannals
  • Jul 12, 2017
  • Category: General
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"Backpack for Kids" is an effort in many cities to provide backpacks and school provisions to assist low-income families prepare for school in the fall. Ideally, each child on the rota receives a new backpack full of school supplies.

A number of years ago, the parish where I was serving as rector sponsored the backpack program for the city. That particular year a lay leader of our church was coordinating the effort and one afternoon she was part of the distribution. It was held in a large auditorium with children and parents lined up to receive a variety of assistance, including the backpacks. After a fairly long wait, a patient and angelic-looking 7 year-old boy approached the table and our volunteer gave him his backpack -- with his initials on the top flap. He was so excited he could hardly speak. He said, haltingly at first, "This is mine... just mine? I don't have to share it with anyone else?" "That's right," said our equally excited donor and volunteer. "But, it's new," said the little boy ... "I've never had anything new in my life." "Did you pack my backpack?" he asked, as he opened the flap and saw the supplies inside. "Yes," she said, "it was my privilege to pack your bag and to be part of your school year." Then they hugged and he went on his way rejoicing.

No matter who we are, we need help growing up. Kids of all backgrounds and conditions need "a village" to help provide for, protect, love and shape them. In that light, I ask you: Who packed your backpack? Who came alongside of you and assisted you when you needed an adult, a parent, a mentor, a support person? When you were not towing the line or making the mark, when you were less than you could be, who provided loving support and possibly benevolent critique along the way?

Thanks to the Community Assistance Center and many individuals and faith communities, there is a robust backpack program in the Sandy Springs area of Atlanta. Holy Innocents' Church has been participating for many years. During the past month many of our members have stepped forward with individual gifts, including one donation of $20,000. Each of us is invited to make a contribution for this cause -- each packed backpack costs $35 . This is the final week for donations. Make your donations by clicking here. You can also make a check out to HIEC, with CAC Backpacks in the memo line. Thank you for your support and contributions!

It could be that when a recipient receives his or her backpack and asks, "Who packed my backpack?" The volunteer would say, "it was a caring parishioner of Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church."

Bob Dannals

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