Make school shopping meaningful this year

Millions of Orphans don't have any way to go to school because they don't have the right supplies. (photo courtesy of Orphan Outreach)

Millions of orphans don’t have any way to go to school
because they don’t have the right supplies.
(Photo courtesy of Orphan Outreach)

Int’l (MNN) — It always seems like stores get seasonal items out on the shelf too soon. It’s the same with the Back to School season. Kids dread the sight of notebooks and pencil kiosks lining the center aisle. Commercials present Back to School sales at department stores, telling parents to make sure their child has a good impression on the first day back.

But for countless kids around the world, school supplies aren’t even on their radar, much less new clothes and shoes. This means they won’t be able to go to school. Sadly, without an education, many children face a life of poverty and exploitation.

What if there was some way to get your kids excited for school and help these orphans get an education?

Well, with Orphan Outreach, there is.

Tiffany Taylor of Orphan Outreach shares with us about Mission Backpack.

“A lot of times, it’s simply a pair of shoes, a school uniform, or the actual school supplies that are stopping them from that access,” she says. “In many countries where public education is free, they cannot go to school unless they have the school supplies to be able to gain entrance to that school.

“Mission Backpack really was created to help these orphans have the proper supplies so that they can gain access to an education.”

These children do not have parents to provide for them. It is up to the institution, the orphanage where they live, to provide the necessities for school.

But they can’t.

Taylor says, “Millions of children reside in orphanages and in really desperate situations around the world. Orphanages just struggle to feed the children and are just trying to meet their basic needs. Thinking about their future and the need for education is something that’s just truly a dream; it’s not even a reality for them.”

Orphan Outreach supports Christian and governmental orphanages to help them gain access to the education that can change their life for the better.

Photo courtesy of Orphan Outreach

(Photo courtesy of Orphan Outreach)

What does that education mean?

Taylor says, “You mentioned that millions of children here in the United States might be dreading the idea of going back to school. But I have to tell you: for these kids to have the access to an education, I’m blown away by how excited they are.

“I’ve been to orphanages around the world. And when those children receive their new backpack and their new school supplies, they are thrilled because they know it’s a chance for them to have a fulfilling life in their community. It’s a chance for them to learn to read, to write. And they’re excited about that.”

Taylor explains it’s also a way to reinforce what the children are learning about God.

“When we pass out the backpacks and school supplies throughout the world, those children know that they are given to them, and it’s just a reminder that they are so loved. They are loved by their heavenly Father; they are not forgotten. And we use it for our evangelistic efforts to reach these children so that they can know about having a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Go school shopping with your child, run your own drive, or give online. (Photo courtesy of Orphan Outreach)

Go school shopping with your child, run your own drive, or give online. (Photo courtesy of Orphan Outreach)

How can you help?

You can give to the fund for school supplies as part of Mission Backpack right here.

But for a hands-on experience–and one that could impact you and your child, there is another way to help.

When you take your child shopping this year, consider buying doubles of a few things. Explain to your child that the doubles are for another child somewhere overseas who wants to go to school because he or she knows it is the best way to escape poverty.

Taylor says, “I just encourage listeners that when they’re out shopping for backpacks for their child, talk to that child about the fact that there are millions of children around the world that don’t get to go to school and have no mom and dad to help them pick out these school supplies. And perhaps, go ahead and buy a backpack for that child–for your own child, but also for a child in need.”

You can find the information to send the supplies to Orphan Outreach here.

Taylor explains that with her own child, it has proved to be a positive experience. She remembers buying the Spiderman backpack that her son absolutely needed. She asked him if they shouldn’t buy a matching one for another child.

That way, her son has a reminder to pray daily for the child who receives that other backpack. “It’s a simple prayer, it’s a prayer that those children know that they are not forgotten–that by giving them this gift of backpacks and school supplies, that we are letting them know that they have a heavenly Father who loves them dearly.”

She says this can be an opportunity to encourage your own children to pursue their dreams and maintain a passion for helping these orphans pursue theirs.