This year, nearly 1,000 churches participated in Send Relief’s Backpack Day!
We couldn’t be more thankful for how you’re choosing to show up for your communities and congregants. The following are just a few examples of how Southern Baptists are making a difference in their neighborhoods. Your church can use them as examples or start your own tradition!
The brothers and sisters at Iglesia Biblica Bautista in Haverhill, Massachusetts got creative and, rather than ask their neighbors to attend a distribution at church, congregants went directly to their community!
After scheduling a prayer walk, volunteers distributed backpacks in the church’s surrounding streets and prayed with their fellow Massachusetts residents in front of their homes, bringing Christ-like love right to their doorsteps.
“It gave us the opportunity to meet folks where they were,” a participant from the church shared. “People were so happy for the event, and we made sure parents brought their children—I’m sure they’ll remember how much fun they had! We plan to continue visiting the community and developing relationships that can lead to more gospel-sharing opportunities.”
New Life Baptist Church in Greencastle, Indiana made their backpack distribution even more festive by holding it at the local county fair!
With crafts presenting the clear message of the gospel, New Life created a scavenger hunt for fair attendants—with a backpack giveaway being the prize—and many Indiana residents had meaningful gospel conversations that day as a result.
The congregation of Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown, Maryland decided not to limit themselves to one distribution: they held four!
Backpacks were given out:
- To elementary school children of The Good News Club, where the gospel was presented with each gift
- To middle and high school youth attending The Garden Church
- To Building Families for Children, a faith-based non-profit in the area that provides trauma-focused support services to at-risk kids
- To various Sunday school classes
This allowed the church to meet a variety of their community’s greatest needs and strengthen relationships with local partners!
Pennsylvania’s Thompsontown Baptist Church rounded out year three of participating in Send Relief’s Backpack Day by hosting a family fun day at a local park!
Volunteers gave out hot dogs, snow cones, popcorn and drinks while running face-painting booths and children’s games.
This year, families stayed longer than ever before, with one single father commenting, “This is such a blessing! I’m so glad your church did this again because it has greatly helped me out. It was a relief to know that our school supplies and backpacks were going to be taken care of.”
Finally, the people of Graceway Church in Auburn, Indiana held an after-church supplies event where attendees stuffed backpacks full of back-to-school essentials and goodies for children at the lowest-income school in their community, leading to a moment of intentional prayer with the principal.
Other churches opted to host health fairs, block parties, backpack-focused mission trips and back-to-school events or distribute bags at pregnancy care centers, refugee camps, youth shelters, tent cities for neighbors experiencing homelessness and foster care centers.
Whatever ways you and your church decide to participate, we’re thankful for your partnership in Send Relief’s Backpack Day and look forward to hearing how God uses these events in your communities!
If you didn’t participate this year, it’s never too late to host your own backpack event to strengthen the community around you. To learn more and download a step-by-step ministry guide, click here.
Published September 25, 2023