It’s that time of year again. Time to start preparing to go back to school. Each year we raise funds for Project Hope and the five programs that the pastors on our ministry planning boards have chosen for their communities. During the end of July and the first part of August our focus is on the Back to School Program. This year we are helping 1,040 students in Mexico and Arizona go back to school or attend school for the first time!
Each of the backpacks that our twenty-five Pastors in Mexico distribute contains:
- four folders,
- four spiral notebooks,
- a box of pencils,
- a pack of pens,
- a box of crayons,
- two glue sticks,
- two erasers,
- a pencil sharpener,
- a pair of scissors,
- and a ruler.
All of these supplies come to us in bulk from Blusource. Bluesource works with different non profit organizations, providing them with schools supplies, hygiene items, winter coats, etc at a discounted price. Many of the items they sell have been donated, helping them keep their costs low and in turn helping us distribute as many backpacks as possible.
Once we receive our order, the fun begins. Each of the backpacks are shipped to us empty, with all the supplies packed in separate boxes. Sometimes we have groups of volunteers that come in and help us fill the backpacks and sometimes the Amor Team takes a break from their cubicles and jumps into the assembly line.
So, the packing process sometime takes several days or only a few hours. Thanks to an awesome team of volunteers from Flood , it only took a few hours to pack backpacks for Baja this year. Once backpacks are filled they are loaded into a box truck and imported into Mexico. The bulk of the backpacks are delivered to the 15 pastors in Tijuana, Tecate and Rosarito, while some of them are loaded into another vehicle and taken to Puerto Peñasco, Sonora to our three pastors located there.
For our 7 pastors in Juarez the logistics are a little more difficult. Since we are not currently taking groups to Juarez, we also do not have an Amor Office located there. Alfredo is our only team member who lives and works in Juarez; he takes great care of our pastors and has had a huge role when it comes to Project Hope. Since we can not ship the school supplies to Mexico we instead ship them to a couple of individuals in El Paso.
They assist us greatly by not only receiving the backpacks , but also storing them until Alfredo is able to come and get them. This can sometimes take several weeks of trips back and forth and cross the border. Since we do not have a team of employees in El Paso to fill the backpacks the pastors in Juarez work together along with members of their congregations to make the backpacks ready to hand out. I have never been to one of their backpack filling parties, but I have seen pictures and it always looks like they are having a great time working together.
Once the pastors receive the backpacks they all have different ways of distributing them to the children in their communities. Some hand them out at church, others hold events in the community, and others bring them to families they know could use the help. Many families in Mexico are overwhelmed by the added expense each school year represents, from school fees to uniforms, many of them cannot afford to pay the required school supplies as well.
So, for parents receiving a backpack for their child gives them a chance for an education that they would not normally have been able to have. Thank you so much for your donations and purchases in the Amor Store that help make this program possible!