One Child’s Story

by Helen Greene

Each week while preparing our backpacks to be taken to Beckley Elementary, we pray that they will make a difference to our Backpack Club children.  A few weeks ago one our church members that is a school nurse shared a conversation she had with one of her students.

A student came to see me for a health need.  As we conversed, I asked about the schools she had attended prior to arriving at high school.  As she explained her middle school and elementary school career, she elaborated about elementary school.

“You know, I went to four elementary schools – we moved a lot.  You want to know the best school I went to – Beckley Elementary because every Friday my siblings and I knew that we would be called to the office and they would give us a backpack filled with food.    This was really important because, you see, we were hungry.  My dad was gone and my mom was really havin’ it hard.  It was the best school I ever went to – because we had food.”

Things are better for this child now – hunger does not accompany her and her family each day.  When she left my office I had to have a few minutes to compose myself before getting back to work.

The Backpack ministry is GODS’ work – local, personal and makes a difference – one child at a time.

Thanks to all of you for your donations of food, money and most of all for your prayers for these children.

For the month of November please donate Vienna sausages for our backpacks.

Off to a good start!

Our Backpack Club is off to a good start this school year.  The first week we had ten children and have gained two every week since.  Please bring canned pasta with meat in October for our backpacks.  Your monetary donations as well as food is greatly appreciated.   Please keep these children and our Backpack program in your prayers.

Well, summer is over.

Well, summer is over and school is back in session again. Once again we are partnering with Beckley Elementary School in our backpack program.  Some of these children live in poverty and sometimes healthy food is scarce and that’s why this program is so vital. We have been blessed with many, many donations.

For the month of September we will be collecting cans of beanie weenies.   These can be left on the back counter in the kitchen.    Monetary donations are also needed and would be greatly appreciated.  Please keep this program in your prayers as we continue to reach out to children and their families in need.

Happiness is Like Jelly

bu Joyce Mills

It has been said that “Happiness is like jelly; you can’t spread even a little bit without getting some on yourself.”  This is so true when you think of mission projects and especially the Backpack Ministry.

When we know there is a need and we help by giving time or money for that hungry child it makes us feel so good and even happy.  Our initiative is to provide six nutritious meals each weekend of the school year for hungry children at Beckley Elementary School.  We hear comments from the families that receive backpacks.  The comment most often is something like “the backpack food helps us so much.”  And, we have been told that children who receive the backpacks are seldom absent on Friday.  This bit of information helps us understand that the filled backpack does make a difference.

Summer is a good time to help us stock up for the coming school year.  Of course, we need money.  If you gave $30 each month that would take care of one child.  If you have a meal at a fast food place, the cost for your meal would feed a child for a weekend.  No one likes to think that there are hungry children in our community.

A suggestion for you might be if you’re having a family picnic or a birthday party, etc., have everyone bring a 16 oz. plastic jar of peanut butter.  Be creative!  We have a big pantry for the Backpack Ministry.

Thanks for any contribution of food, money or time that you give to the Backpack Ministry.  School will be starting in August and we always need people to help with this Ministry.  Contact Helen Greene or Pastor Doc if you can help.

We’re stocking up on Peanut Butter for the next two months.  The jar should be 16 or 18 oz. size and plastic.  Just put your contribution in the church kitchen on the back counter and enjoy that happy feeling because you gave.

Another School Year is Behind Us

by Helen Greene

Another school year is behind us and we are preparing for the upcoming 2017-2018 term. This year we have served 24 children every week with two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners, a loaf of bread and a bag of snacks.  Due to a $300.00 grant given to us by New Vision Telephone Pioneers we were able to purchase a pair of new sneakers for each child in May.

To help us restock our food supply,  please bring jars of peanut butter in the month of June.  Donations can be left on the back counter in the kitchen.  Many thanks to each person who donated money, food or your time volunteering to make this a very successful year.  This project could not have been a success without you.

Our Response is Clear

by Joyce Mills

Our response to the poor, hungry, hurting and destitute is clea5.  Conscience and compassion only lead to one conclusion…. We must help!  Together we can be part of the solution.  Here’s how you can join hands with us in the Backpack Ministry.

PRAY     ENGAGE     DONATE

Educate yourself about the plight of the poor, what life is like for those in poverty.  Become an advocate.    Share what you learn with friends and family.  Talk about the issues and solutions with those of us involved with the Backpack Ministry, those in business and our community.

Even though school will be out in late May this year, we need to continue to PRAY, ENGAGE and DONATE to the Backpack Ministry during the summer.  If we do these three things, we will be ready to help again when school starts in August. If you’re in a position of influence in your job or industry, your company might contribute non-perishable food items towards the next school year.  We take any amount of money you might like to donate.  Our estimate for each child is around $35 per month.  We will end this school year serving 24 kids. If you do the math, you can see it is a bit costly.

We are a 501c3 tax-exempt organization.  Donations and contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by law.  Make your check payable to First Baptist Church and designate it for the Backpack Ministry.  Also, each month we will continue to ask for a food donation.

For the month of May bring enough cans of Vienna Sausage to fill the long, wide shelf in our panty.  Just put it on the back counter in the church kitchen.  We appreciate your support to this very worthy mission project.

Wrinkles and Smiles

by Joyce Mills

Mark Twain once said, “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.”  Did you know it takes twenty-six muscles to smile and sixty-two to frown? So what are you waiting for?  Always be smiling!  Especially smile when you hear stories like the following:

In life, real joy is not in the possession of things, it is found in a thankful heart.  My heart was full of joy the other day when I heard Helen Greene telling this story.  As most of you know, Helen has wonderful passion for the Backpack Ministry.  She and Mary spend hours shopping for the best buy in food for the backpack kids and keeping the shelves full of kid friendly food.  As Helen was helping with the Chonda Pierce Concert she was walking through Fellowship Hall and noticed some very fine tote bags on a vendor’s table.  Katie and Lindsay were in charge of the Spirit FM table and Helen asked if she could have some tote bags for the backpack kids who sometimes forget their backpack.  Katie and Lindsay became very interested in hearing about the backpack program and Helen took them to the pantry where all the supplies and food are kept.  They were very impressed with what they saw and heard.  Of course, they gave Helen all the totes they had left, as well as pencils, bracelets, stickers and suckers to go in the backpacks.

A few days after the concert a box arrived for Helen at the church.  Katie and Lindsay had sent 24 more nice totes and goodies for the kids.  There was also a very special note to Helen.

Hi Helen, We are touched by your heart and wanted to help too.  Hope this will help!

Keep Shining for Jesus!  Katie and Lindsay

Helen is such a fine example of having a happy heart!  She not only has compassion for our Backpack program, she shares it with whoever will listen.  Because she shares how her heat is feeling, an organization to which she belongs “New Vision Pioneers” gave the Backpack Ministry $300 to buy tennis shoes for the backpack kids.  What a great joy we have in our hearts!

Boxes of macaroni and cheese is the food donation for April.  Just put it on the back counter in the kitchen.   Thanks and HAPPY EASTER!

Time Flies

by Joyce Mills

Some of you have been reading about the Backpack Ministry for four years.  It was started in February 2013.  That does not seem possible!  We have about the same workers that started the program.  The workers have had tremendous passion and loyalty to the program since the very beginning.  The only thing that has changed much is the number of children who receive food for the weekend.  We are now preparing 24 backpacks that go home with the children every Friday.  This program should not be increasing in number – the number should be going down if there is improvement. Why should there even be hungry children in our own backyards?

Many children and families face a food shortage at home. In Beckley, many families struggle with hunger, especially during evenings and weekends when children don’t have access to healthy school meals.  In addition: Working poor parents who must pay for childcare often don’t have enough money to feed their families.  Or, suddenly unemployed adults or those who’ve had their hours reduced often don’t have adequate funds to meet both food and basic living needs.

There is a movement in our country that seems to be saying to each of us, “DO ONE THING FOR A BETTER WORLD”.  Certainly, at First Baptist there are opportunities to do that one thing.  It is just a matter of choice!  There are things you can do alone or there are things you can do in a group –like helping  with the backpacks or working at Helping Hands Resource Center.

The following are some interesting quotes about hungry children.  It was surprising to read the quote and then to see who had said it.

“There are genuinely sufficient resources in the world to ensure that no one, nowhere, at no time, should go hungry.”   Ed Asner

“Hungry people cannot be good at learning or producing anything, except perhaps violence.”    Pearl Bailey

“I can’t think of any issue that is more important than working to see that no schoolchild in this world goes hungry.”   Drew Barrymore.

“Feeding a child at school is such a simple thing – but it works miracles.”    Drew Barrymore

“When we work to end childhood hunger, we are giving our love to kids who need it so much they will never ask for it.”    Beau Bridges

“Hunger makes a thief of any man.”   Pearl Buck

“There is no finer investment for any community than putting milk into babies.”  Sir Winston Churchill

The donation needed this month is any kind of canned beans –baked beans, pork & beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, etc. Just fill the back counter in the church kitchen.

Thanks for all you do to help hungry children!   YOUR help is greatly appreciated!

Don’t let the important things go unsaid

by Joyce Mills

Someone has said, “Don’t let the important things go unsaid.  Do the things that brighten your life and help you on your way.  Live to the fullest; make each day count.”

Those of you who volunteer understand these words so very well.  You spend your time doing those things that make you happy.  There are  so many places where volunteers do things that really count!  And, yet, it seems we never have enough volunteers for the things that need to be done.

I always feel a need to thank those of you who help with the backpacks each week, giving your time and energy to help hungry kids.  It is so great to have some help in saying “thanks” this month.  To those of you who did special shopping for students at Christmas, and those of you who give special time each week here are some very special thanks………

From a parent who sent a very special “Thank YOU” card:

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

EVERY THING WAS VERY MUCH APPRECIATED

Thank you!

From the principal of Beckley Elementary:

First Baptist Church,

Thank you so much for your dedication to our school and students. The food backpacks are items that these students look forward to all week.

We also appreciate you providing Christmas gifts to them as well. You are truly a blessing to our school and these families.

Meghan Houck, Principal

Beckley Elementary School

So you Volunteers, look in the mirror and smile….and see an amazing person looking back at you.  You really are someone special, and your presence is a present to the world around you.

The food donation needed this month is a can of pasta with meat.  Just put It on the back counter in the church kitchen.  Thanks

Happy New Year! It’s 2017!

by Joyce Mills

A big THANK YOU to the 15 shoppers who took the time and energy to Christmas shop for 27 children.  I can only imagine how happy this made mostly boys and a few girls, who receive backpacks filled with food every Friday.

Having just read some facts on hunger in West Virginia, I was pleased to read that the WV Office of Child Nutrition is leading the nation in serving nutritionally balanced meals to its students at school. However, these same children live in a household that does not have access to enough food. This is due to low wages or no job. More than 1 in 4 WV children live in a household that does not have enough food.  60% of WV school children qualify for free or reduced priced school meals.  That’s more than 173,000 children whose family household income is below or nearly below the federal poverty level.  Raleigh County is in that number, as well as, students at Beckley Elementary. Sadly, the meals provided at school may be the only food many children have access to each day.

Our children deserve to have the most basic needs met in order to live vibrant, productive lives. FBC is doing its part to stop hunger in children. Your gifts of money and food donations certainly are making a difference with some children.  AND, yes, it is a MISSION FIELD right in our back door. Sometimes Home Missions are neglected and we send our money far away to other people in need.  That is all well and good but we cannot overlook our own community needs.

THANKS! THANKS! THANKS! – for not only providing food for the weekends but also for making certain that 27 kids had a good Christmas. The donation needed in January is cans of Pasta with MEAT. Just place on the back counter in the Church kitchen.