Backpack Drive makes orphans feel loved, provides needed supplies

By February 29, 2008

USA (MNN) — Orphan Outreach just kicked off a new project called Mission Backpack. They distributed backpacks last year, but this is backpack collection on a larger scale. 

Churches, schools, and other organizations are encouraged to organize a backpack drive.  Orphan outreach will supply posters to advertise. They will also provide luggage tags for each backpack that is expected to be collected. Luggage tags are a unique part of the distribution. Tiffany Taylor with Orphan Outreach said, "People can write a personal note to those children letting them know they are loved by the person who collected the backpack and also loved by God and their Heavenly Father. Those luggage tags will stay with the backpacks. So, every day when the children get ready to go to school, they will remember that they are loved."

Orphan Outreach also is looking for people who would like to travel on a short-term trip to Guatemala, Honduras, India or Russia to distribute the backpacks. Those who go on the trips will "basically be presenting the Gospel to orphans and letting them know that they have a Heavenly Father who loves them and has not forgotten them."

Bags are filled with supplies for school and Christian literature such as Bibles. "It really helps them be special because most of these orphans go to school with kids from the neighborhood who have families. And it's so hard for them when they arrive at school, and they don't have pencils or paper or the school supplies that they need. And they don't have a backpack like every other child.  And it really just lets these children know that they are special–they are special in God's eyes," said Taylor.

Last year's backpack distribution in Russia offered a glimpse of the impact that a single backpack can make. "It was just overwhelming to me to see the children so excited to have the team come in. The backpacks are really a way for us to get in the door with these kids, but they are just so hungry to hear that they are loved. They are just hungry to hear the Gospel," said Taylor.

Not one backpack will go unused. Taylor said, "There are literally 143 million orphans in the world. So every backpack is important to us. We want people to get involved and realize that they can make a difference with just one backpack that they collect."  

If you are unable to be involved in a backpack drive, logging on to give a donation for distribution costs is another way to take part. 

For more information, go to Mission Backpack's Web site.

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