As families across the country rushed to get their kids ready for the new school year, a Southern Baptist entity and its partners helped prepare a community of refugees in Georgia for the 2019-2020 school year by handing out thousands of backpacks, shoes and other supplies.
Send Relief, the mercy and compassion arm of the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board, held a “Back to School Party” earlier this month at its new ministry center in Clarkston, an Atlanta suburb of about 13,000 comprised of thousands of refugees.
Thanks to donations from over 200 different churches and multiple ministries and organizations, over 2,100 backpacks and over 35,000 school supplies were given out to children on the morning of Aug. 3, two days before local public schools went back into session.
Thanks to a donation from a shoe company, over 540 shoes were also given to students at the event, while a total of 1,500 bibles were also distributed.
According to the Send Relief, 91 people received full health screenings at a medical clinic sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Council and 70 people received prescription reading glasses. As many as 35 people received haircuts.
“We always want to be careful. We don’t want to foster unhealthy dependency and we don’t want to be known to just giving out free stuff all the time,” Trent DeLoach, the manager of Send Relief’s Clarkston Ministry Center, told The Christian Post
“But due to the cost of school supplies and knowing that the majority of our neighbors have large families — six to 10 kids is quite normal — that is a significant expense. You go to the county public school’s website and click on school supplies, you could easily spend up to $90 per child if you purchase everything they say is needed.”
The town of Clarkston has become a popular site for the resettlement of refugees since the early 1980s due to its proximity to public transportation and less expensive cost of living. Although many who attended the Back to School Party were from refugee families, not all were refugees since the event was open to all families in the community.
Send Relief is an organization that aims to provide resources, training, education and events to help churches engage in relief work for those in crisis. In May 2018, NAMB purchased the property of Clarkston International Bible Church as part of a partnership to replace the church’s aging buildings.
Throughout the years, CIBC has partnered with organizations to help the Clarkston refugee community. For the past 10 years, the church has hosted the Back to School Party, which has become one of its biggest events of the year. And for the last two years, NAMB and Send Relief have come on as major partners in the event.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith