This August, thousands of children around the world will receive donated brand new backpacks filled with school supplies. For example, stationed in Iraq as a National Guard chaplain, my pastor is helping to organize "Operation Backpack," a project that will provide hundreds of Iraqi children with necessary school supplies and a special backpack to start the new school year. Yet, it is just not the children in war torn countries that need help preparing for school. With four school-aged children, I know the expense involved in just getting them out the door and seated in their new classrooms. Clothes, shoes, and the long list of school supplies can put a dent in anyone's budget. This month, those in my small group are joining forces and launching "Operation Backpack" for the struggling families within our own spheres of influence.
Consider initiating "Operation Backpack" in your own community. If your small group is not meeting for the summer, get together for a BBQ and discuss the plan to bless several children with school supplies. Make a list of the families known by your group that could use help with this expense. In most areas, Wal-Mart™, K-Mart™, and Target™ stores provide school supply lists for local elementary schools by the beginning of August. Use these lists to decide who will purchase which supplies and backpacks. Then, send a creative postcard to each family on your list to inform them that a backpack is coming. Gather again in a week to put the backpacks together and deliver them. Extend an invitation to the parent(s) to attend your small group in the fall, and offer to say a prayer for their children.