School is in session. Kids are writing on paper with pens, pencils. There are notebooks and there is glue. There are scissors and pencil boxes. If a student doesn’t have the means, there are programs that provide.
However, for those children who are lucky enough to attend school in some third-world countries, that is not the case. Organizers at Lutheran World Relief paint a different picture, “imagine having to choose between a meal or purchasing a notebook.”
LWR is a mission organization that works to affirm God’s love for all people by working with Lutherans and partners around the world to end poverty, injustice and human suffering. The group feels they are empowered by God’s unconditional love in Jesus Christ. Together, they envision a world where each person, no matter the place or age, lives in a world where there is justice and peace as well as dignity.
School kits are just one way the group works to spread love in the world. “School Kits are sent to places where even the few required school supplies may be more than a family can afford,” the organization’s website explained. “Pencils and paper can help write a positive future.”
In response to the growing need, members of Shanesville Lutheran Church sprang into action. They participated in a program set aside for Evangelical Churches on the second Sunday of September known as “God’s Work, Our Hands.”
Their project included filling 204 bags that were sewn by members Connie Anderholm and Pat Landis. “It was a huge success,” noted Judy Harstine, from the church. “Youth and adults of the Shanesville Lutheran Church gathered.”
The congregation worked together to place four notebooks, one ruler, one pencil sharpener, five pens, five pencils, a box of crayons, a pair of scissors and an eraser in each bag. After the bags were filled they were carefully packed into boxes for the next leg of their trip.
Garry and Rose Thomas of Baltic have stepped up to take the boxes, along with items for St. John Lutheran Church located in Baltic and Grace Lutheran Church located in Steubenville to the Jerusalem Lutheran Church in Lodi on October 14. At that point, the boxes will be loaded onto a semi that was donated by Seville’s Kreider/Samsa Trucking. The truck will also be carrying quilts, blankets, personal kits and other donations from Lutheran Churches from all over northeastern Ohio. They will make a trip to Baltimore, Maryland where items will be repacked and shipped overseas. Final sorting will be done by LWR to places where the need is great.
Harstine said there is a large group to thank for making the project a reality. “Special thanks to Jim and Lynn Anderholm of Alexandria, Virginia for their generous donation of money for this project,” she explained. “Thank you to any members of the congregation who donated money or school supply items. Thank you to Pat Landis and Connie Anderholm who sewed the bags. Thank you to Cherri and Ben Hershberger for cutting material for the school bags, and to Debbie Brown and Cherrie Hershberger for taking all the school supplies out of their original packaging and to Leonard Landis and Tim Gerber for packing and taping the boxes.”
She noted the project would not have been possible without the support of the Shanesville Women of the ELCA, Martin Luther Adult Sunday School Class and Primary Sunday School children who donate funds and roll up their sleeves.
The project is coordinated by Harstine with the help of Connie Anderholm and Minister Barb DeBoard. “We are fighting a war on terror with pencils and pens and our sewing machines,” Anderholm said of the project.