A Blessing in Supplies
Before I left my house to document the school supplies project at EPIC Church, I thought about grabbing the leftover glue sticks that came in the package I just bought for my third grader. My son only needed two from the pack of six, and I didn’t think I wanted the extras to roll around in our junk drawer until next year. But this is the one time I’m glad I opted out of a very minor opportunity to give, because this was not a typical school supplies drive. This project was absolutely massive. Walking into the prep area of the sanctuary was like walking down an aisle at Costco. There were cartons stacked higher than my head filled with school boxes, huge bins full of erasers, thousands of folders in a rainbow of colors, and several stacks of tissue boxes lining the wall. The collection was impressive, because the goal is impressive: donating supplies to every kindergarten student in the Blue Springs School District. That’s about 1,200 students. Over 13,000 sharpened pencils. Nearly 5,000 glue sticks.
Lead pastor Bobby Hawk’s passion and excitement for the project was quite apparent as he spoke to me about his own experience as a student from a single-parent home in the Blue Springs School District. He knows that there are people who could use help, but won’t ask for it. There are people who delegate every dollar of their paychecks to a strict budget that can be shaken by the need for new school supplies, among other costs associated with the start of a new school year. There are also families who can easily afford supplies. He encourages those families to pass supplies on to others if they’d like. “Those who do not need the help can can pay it forward, and those who cannot pay it forward really need the help,” Bobby says.
EPIC Church coordinates this effort as a way to show love to their community, to provide for those in need, and to make life a little easier for families sending a kiddo off to school for the first time. “Our church believes that it is important to be involved and volunteer in the local community. We feel called to serve, not to be served,” says executive pastor Matt Rutledge. “As a church, we want to try to be a blessing in whatever ways we possibly can.”
I watched (and tried my best to stay out of the way of the fast-working assembly line) as the youth group students gathered supplies for each class into large plastic bins. They prayed that the supplies would be a blessing to the community and to the students beginning a new year at a new school. The next day, Bobby, Matt and other members of the church staff and congregation delivered the supplies to each of the district’s 13 elementary schools and Liggett Trail Education Center as teachers prepared their classrooms. The teachers are grateful to know their students will start the school year with exactly what they need. Every student will have the same high-quality supplies to use throughout the year. Every pencil is sharpened and ready for eager little hands to use.
To learn more about EPIC Church, visit www.epickc.com.