I have to confess that it seemed quite strange to be organizing a Back-2-School event in July! Nevertheless, with local elementary schools starting on July 31 this year, that was when it needed to be.
We set the date for Saturday, July 20 and began asking for volunteers and donations. As the 20th approached, we had a lot of backpacks, a lot of school supplies, a lot of socks and Bibles, 10 free pizza vouchers from Little Caesar’s, and an adequate amount of volunteers. When some of us went out in the community on Thursday and Friday (right before the event) to hand out flyers, it was hard to tell if families were interested or would even be available during the hours we had set for the event.
“Oh, Lord, send the kids and families,” I prayed, perhaps a bit selfishly since this event seemed to be quite a lot of work for it to end up being a flop.
When the first few families arrived shortly after 10:00 a.m. (the event start time was 11:00 a.m.), and by 10:30 a.m., there was a steady stream of registrants, it appeared that our concern now was how to best manage a crowd in a very warm room. The Lord had certainly sent the people!
Luis grew up in the neighborhood and used to attend Aim Right programs. He is currently in barber school and volunteered to give free haircuts, even recruiting a friend to give haircuts as well. I believe they gave close to 20 haircuts in around 3 hours.
We had 79 children and youth sign in at the event, and they were eligible for 3 different drawings — backpacks, school supplies, and socks & misc. Ro (pictured below with the microphone) did a great job of drawing names and announcing winners — 1-2 per minute for close to 2 hours!
Darrell & Julie kept the food line organized and moving along.
Nurses Rachel and Evie offered free vision screening.
As a final note…one child who came on Saturday has moved (or will be moving soon) to the Sunnyslope area of Phoenix. That is where A.J. and Jewel serve, so they were able to get the child’s address to connect with her and transport her to the kids church program in Sunnyslope. How good of God to arrange those details and divinely arrange that interaction on Saturday!