by Dan Vanderbilt/ August 15, 2016
My favorite Kidmin event at Glad Tidings Church in Muncie is our annual “Back to School Outreach” at our local elementary school. Eight years ago we made it a strategic goal as a church to partner with the closest elementary school and do everything we can to help the students, parents, faculty, and staff.
We started with providing breakfast foods for children who came to school hungry and treats for the teachers. Through our servant approach and willingness to do the small things for the school, many more doors have been opened to us. This has led to our big back-to-school outreach.
The goals of our outreach are simple. First, we show the love of God to each and every person that walks into the school. Second, we give the families as much as we can to equip them for the upcoming school year. Because the elementary school is in an economically distressed part of town, the families come with lots of needs. We set up stations in the school to help families get their paperwork filled out to enroll their children, we collect the height and weight of each child to help the nurse, and we provide all the school supplies that each child is required to bring.
After those stations, we provide a backpack, haircuts, eye exams, dental and hearing checks, free books, and a new pair of shoes for each child. We then finish their day with inflatables and food for the families to enjoy. In one day we get to serve about 300 children and their families.
The reason this is my favorite event all year is because it rallies adults from every background in our church for a common cause and meets a tangible need in our community. It uses the vocational training, organizational gifts, and other strengths of many different individuals and ministry teams in the church.
This event also gives adults a vision and burden for children and our community. This becomes a springboard for our children’s ministry throughout the remainder of the school year. The door is also opened for us to minister to families and staff at the school when other needs arise throughout the year.