Pencils and paper for a positive future

Mission | October 25, 2017

On Saturday morning, four St. Paul women traveled by church van to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Their cargo was 100 school kits, bound for children worldwide. For the past three months, women of the congregation have decorated and packaged school supplies in canvas bags.

Each bag contained four notebooks, one ruler, one pencil sharpener, one pair of scissors, five pencils, five pens, one box of crayons, one eraser. The effort was organized and supported by the Women of the ELCA. The St. Paul Book Corner donated the bags.

Norma Bailie, Mary Ann Beck, Cindy Bleich, and Cindee Schnekloth delivered the work. Now, the kits are on a months-long journey to their recipients. It is part of a nationwide effort through Lutheran World Relief to provide school supplies, personal care items, baby care supplies, and fabric kits to people all over the world.

Melanie Gibbons, who manages the quilt and kit program for LWF, said every single kit and quilt is important. “They are part of something so much bigger. What they are doing brings value and dignity and life and hope to people all over the world.”

From the drop-off points throughout the country, the kits are shipped to one of LWR’s two warehouses in Minnesota or Maryland. Once items reach the warehouses, they are sorted and packed by staff and volunteers, both to prevent damage but also to ensure efficient and cost-effective packing. It takes about a month from the time kits arrive at the warehouse to when they are processed, repacked, and ready for shipment.

In the meantime, LWR staff work with partners overseas to determine where and what items are most needed. LWR then notifies its warehouses to prepare the necessary materials for shipment. This process takes one to two months. Once the kits are prepared for shipment, materials travel by ocean freight to the receiving partner in countries around the world. This process can take from one to two months, depending on which warehouse the materials are sent from and to which country they are going.

From there, LWF partners get items cleared through customs, transfer them to storage (where they can be safely held until they can be distributed) and sort them according to local needs.

The St. Paul kits will join others from places like South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Carolina, and Indiana. They will go to places like Peru, Honduras, Mali, and Pakistan.


One comment on “Pencils and paper for a positive future”

  • Susan Grove

    October 28, 2017 at 9:51 am

    What a great effort! St. Paul takes part in many outreach programs because people in our congregation step up and get to work. These school kits will make a difference to kids who need them!

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