Partners in Service
THE BACKPACK PROJECT
PINS is a vehicle for putting faith in action; the ability to make a difference in the lives of local children and youth.
Many, many years ago in the state of Vermont the idea of Partners in Service was conceived with a part-time director and funding from the state. Letters were sent to all the churches. The director went to those churches that invited her and welcomed them to join this new project. The mission statement of PINS was to bring together faith communities with human service agencies to promote the resiliency and success of children and youth who have been the victims of abuse and neglect, ranging in age from infant to adult. The PINS program offers faith communities the opportunity to assist children, youth, and families involved with the state child protection agency by partnering family service staff with volunteers. Unmet needs of children and families are determined and through donations of items and funding these specific needs are met. There initially was a newsletter where the director had every participating church write a summary of their activities. And from the newsletter new ideas blossomed. But as time went on the state funding evaporated, the director lost her job, the newsletter disappeared and everyone was on their own.
In Chester, St. Luke’s Church continues to put faith in action, involving the entire congregation in reaching out to vulnerable children in our community. Although over the years we have had to slim down some of our projects and fund-raising efforts, we continue to have a successful back-to-school backpack collection every summer.
In the past few years we have found it cost effective to buy in bulk online the school items that go into the backpacks as they are much cheaper than the same supplies that are on sale just before school starts in July. The backpacks we find all year long on sale or in thrift stores. We will always accept brand new or gently used backpacks, whatever size, as they are given to kids from 5 to 18 years old.
This past August we were able to deliver to the Springfield Department for Children and Family Services 69 backpacks filled with the appropriate school supplies for the age and grade level. Each backpack had a label tied to it that said: “Filled with love for you from St. Luke’s Church Chester, Vermont.” The social workers distribute the backpacks to their clients in foster care or to kids in families in crisis. The total amount spent on the school supplies was $706.83. All the backpacks were donated. Donations received for the project was $560.00.
As of December 31, 2022 the PINS treasury has $590.54 in it.
Any donation is appreciated. On the check written out to St. Luke’s Church, please write PINS on the memo line. Thanks so much in advance for your support.
Members of the PINS committee are: Marjorie Carey, Sally Hoover, Eileen Widger, Lillian Willis and Marcia Clinton, chair.
Donate with a check to:
St. Luke's Church
P.O. Box 8
Chester, VT 05143