August is on the horizon and as we try to keep cool during these dog days of summer, young students and their parents are gearing up to return to school in the next few weeks. The start of the school year is an exciting time filled with possibilities, but for too many families there’s an extra layer of anxiety that comes with the first day of school.
The City Beautiful has an ugly secret. About half of our community earns less than $30,000 a year per household and one in four children is born into poverty. Many parents work hard—some even work multiple jobs—but still have to live knowing that they are a missed paycheck away from a serious financial crisis. Even in that reality, these parents want nothing more than to properly equip their children for the school year and give them a great start on that big first day. Not being able to do so, or to have to compromise other parts of a stretched budget to make it happen, is heartbreaking for a parent. With that in mind, Summit wants to make sure that we affirm the dignity of parents and never step into a role or relationship that we have not been invited into. The roles of parents, grandparents, and caregivers are ones that we want to support, never usurp.
Summit Church has the privilege of being in relationship with some amazing local organizations that stand shoulder to shoulder with those parents to love on their kids year round. Each backpack that is built and brought to Summit provides an opportunity to strengthen relationships on so many levels. Think about it…
You get together with your friends, family, or Connect group and are on a mission to build something special that will bring joy to a young student in just a few short weeks.
That backpack is part of a promise Summit made to Orlando Children’s Church (OCC) and local partners to provide extra care for their clients.
That promise is built from years of relationship between Summit and local organizations (including OCC) so they can faithfully extend that promise to their clients.
These organizations have invested years of hard work getting to know and care for those families as part of their community—an extension of their family unit.
Those who have invested deeply in relationship with those precious children and their families (teachers, counselors, pastors) will be the hands that ultimately deliver the gift of these backpacks.
The full backpack that you put together so lovingly will travel through strong relationships into the hands of a child who will know that you prayed for them and their family and that each item was chosen just for them.
We encourage any and all who want to participate to get creative with their friends, families, and Connect Groups to share the joy of building backpacks together. We are helping alleviate a very practical need for families locally, yet we are doing so much more than that. This is an opportunity for the Summit family to encourage and nurture families in a way that strengthens the community that has formed around them to weather all storms.
It truly does take a village to raise children. Sometimes it takes a few villages.
Our Backpack Drive is a great opportunity for us to meet a real, timely, and important need in our community by equipping children and teenagers for a great start to the school year. Find out all the details you need (before August 7th!) right here.
Elizabeth Cronlund is the Community Development Coordinator at Summit. If you'd like to get in touch with Liz, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.