An Integral Part


For the few years my husband Josh and I have been attending Summit, there’s been a backpack drive. Last summer was the same as previous years. Walk into Sunday service, take a postcard in the shape of a backpack with a nifty list on the back of what to fill in it. We love the idea of helping our community, especially children, but it can be expensive to do on your own.

In previous years, Josh and I would hit up the Target next door to the Herndon Campus and just knock a backpack out in one trip flat…And maybe accidentally purchase some extra things. Because Target can have that effect on us.

But last year our Summit Connect leaders sent out a group message asking if our group would like to do the drive together as a service project. It sounded like a great idea, and all 12 adults said they were in! Our group also has a few kids running around, so we thought this would be perfect to get the kids involved. Service is really important to us, but it can be hard to find kid/adult friendly projects. We did it this way:

  • Each couple purchased a backpack. (Amazon had some really great deals on them.)

  • Our group leader made a list of everything we needed to fill six backpacks.

  • We each decided what we would buy, and how much. (Bulk packages for the win.)

We met that week in July at our normal time, and everyone brought the supplies. The kids all wanted to help, and it was easy for the adults to divide and conquer. We created an assembly line around my kitchen table, and filled six backpacks in 30 minutes. The kids had a blast, and we felt like we accomplished something bigger together than we could have on our own.


We talked to the kids about why were doing it, and that because Jesus loves us, we love our community and the people in it. I think it was a good teaching moment, and if you ask our group leader, Tiffany, she says she felt it really set the tone for our group moving forward. We hadn’t all been together that long, and service projects were a new idea.

In the year since we did the Backpack Drive, we’ve also put together a week’s worth of freezer meals for a co-worker of mine who had major surgery; we’ve painted at Summit; we’ve helped each other pack U-Hauls and we’ve watched each other’s children for date nights and last-minute weddings. Service became an integral part of our group.

As summer starts to wind down, and you receive the backpack-shaped postcard, ask a friend to help you fill one. Or maybe the couple you always sit next to on Sunday mornings. And if you’re part of a Connect group, I encourage you to do it together.



We have until Sunday, July 29th to collect 500 backpacks for our Backpack Drive and we need your help! 

Allison Hurtado became a journalist because she believes in providing news and information to the public and in the importance of telling people's stories. She and her husband, Josh, have been married five years, and began attending Summit about three years ago. They were looking for a church in their community, and so they checked out Summit and never looked back. Allison loves to cook, is obsessed with Pioneer Woman, has a rescue pup named Ellie who loves to sunbathe, and only barks at two things: church bells and birds (the dog, not Allison).