Did you know that 1 out of every 4 children in Columbus goes to bed hungry?
You have an opportunity to make a difference in our community through Packs of Grace. We need your help in making a difference to the students at local elementary schools that qualify for the federal free lunch program. Packs of Grace picks up where the school lunch program stops on Friday afternoon. We serve 200 students during the school year.
Each Friday, we provide free, to qualifying students, a backpack filled with meals for Saturday and Sunday.
How you can Partner with us and help us grow this important ministry in our community or how you can start a backpack program at your church or organization:
Individuals that want to Partner with Morningside:
- Be a financial partner by sponsoring a child(ren)
$140 per child per school year or
$15.60 per child per month
- Volunteers are always welcomed each Wednesday evening at 6:00 to help pack the backpacks.
- Volunteers are needed to help deliver the backpacks to the school each Thursday morning –rain or shine!
- Partner in prayer with us and pray for the children and families that we are ministering to that they’re circumstances will improve, that they will feel the love of Christ through this act of kindness and one day come to know Christ as their Savior.
- Pray that other churches and community organizations will partner with us or start their own backpack ministry.
Churches and Organizations that want to Partner with Morningside
We know that the need in Columbus is great with over 19,000 students receiving Federal free lunches. Currently Morningside is only able to minister to a small group of 125 elementary students. If you are a small organization that wants to help, but doesn’t feel like you have the volunteers needed, we would love for you to financially partner with Morningside and together we can begin a backpack ministry at another Columbus elementary school. This is a great opportunity for organizations to partner together to meet a need in our community and show the love of Christ. Please contact Kathy Powell at 706-561-0343 if you would like to explore this opportunity.
Churches or Organizations that want to begin their own backpack ministry
Here are suggestions on how your organization might start a backpack ministry.
- First, if you are a church it is important that you have the support of your Senior Pastor and your missions team. This ministry will need many volunteers and people supporting the ministry.
- You need to have the necessary financial support before you make a commitment to a school.
- You need to identify the elementary school that you want to help. We suggest that you look at the school closest to you or perhaps you are already a partner in Education with one.
- Set up a meeting with the school principal and school counselor to present the program, explain how it works and the benefits to the students and teachers. IMPORTANT – you must have the support of not only the Principal but the teachers. The Principal may want to present this program to his teachers at their next meeting and get their input.
- If the Principal feels their students on the Federal free lunch program would benefit from the program and wants you to start:
The Principal will need to assign a staff member to be the Schools Backpack Coordinator.
You need to tell them how many students you are able to help and allow them to select the students.
Allow the school to make as many decisions as they can. The first backpack delivery date, when back packs are delivered during the week and where, which students and how the students receive and return the backpacks each week. You want the program to be their program, run smoothly and not create a disturbance with the school day/classroom.
You will need to provide the school with the necessary paper work to send home with students. The school may not want the church name on the paper work. That should be perfectly fine,” to God be the Glory”. Print the letters and make the copies for the schools. Remember the schools are short money so try and provide and do as much of the work as you can, but still allowing the school to make the decisions since it affects them and it is their program. Your church should only be the hands and feet of the ministry.
Once you commit to a school, remember the children look forward to getting their backpack each week, so you must be set up to deliver every week no matter what happens.
Let the school backpack coordinator know at the beginning of the year that you will be asking for feedback from the teachers as to how they feel the program helped them and the students. Ask how the program can be improved if you plan on committing for the following year.
We suggest that you try to commit to at least two years initially.You will need to have your different volunteer teams ready to go.
- Team for purchasing food and keeping an inventory.
- Team for sorting/pulling the food and setting it up for packing.
- Team for packing backpacks.
- Team for delivery backpacks to the school each week.
- Team to pick up the backpacks each week to start process all over.
Please contact Kathy Powell (706-561-0343 x 110) if you would like additional information.