2012 Open Door Back to School Stories
As we write this it’s only 7 September and thanks be to God we have been able to provide almost 150 kids with backpacks and school supplies. As more donations come in we continue to put together backpacks and supplies for those on our waitlist. When we are finished we expect to have provided for approximately 200 kids. We have so, so many wonderful stories to share and it has been difficult to select just a few to share with you. Below you will find just some of the amazing ministry stories from our back to school program. We are so thankful to you for your partnership with us as we minister to those in need in our community of Mississauga.
Lynne, Jen and Krista
The Colour Purple
When we put the school bags together we pray and ask God to help us match the bags and supplies with the right kids. After filling the backpacks with school supplies we put all of the bags for the families in garbage bags and label them for distribution. The Friday before school started a little girl going into grade 3 came into the Open Door with her mom to get her backpack. The girl was wearing a beautiful purple dress and she told us that purple is her favourite colour. In fact, her mom told us that everything this little girl owns is purple! We pulled out the family’s garbage bag and had a look inside. To our surprise we found a beautiful purple backpack with the little girl’s name on it. The girl was so happy that with joy she exclaimed “how did you know I wanted a purple backpack!?” Lynne replied “we didn’t know, but who do you think would have known?” The girl thought about it and then said “God?” We told her that we believe God chose it for her and that He’d be with her as she goes back to school. The girl was so encouraged, she had been nervous about going back to school and she found comfort in knowing that God sees her and loves her so much that He even provided her with a purple backpack.
This past winter we began ministering to a beautiful family from Columbia. This family comprised of a single mom and six kids came to Canada as refugees. One of the boys is actually adopted; his parents (the mom’s brother and sister-in-law) were tragically killed in a car accident and the little boy was the sole survivor. Our first encounter with them was so touching as the mom came with two of the boys. We invited them to pick out toys from our toy chest and were surprised that both boys were only picking out girl’s toys. They explained to us that only one of the six kids is a girl (she’s the second youngest) and that she always has to play with boy toys so they wanted to get her some girl toys. We were so grateful to provide this family with school supplies, with kids in grades 7, 5, 1 and two in grade 3 the mom had no idea how she’d be able to get enough supplies for everyone.
Shoes and Backpacks
A woman came into the Open Door in obvious distress. We took her into the chapel and found out that she had been laid off 2 months ago. She is a single mom of two children, a boy in grade 7 and a daughter in grade 4. This little family is homeless, currently living with friends in a tiny unit. The mom was upset because she didn’t have the money to buy her kids backpacks or shoes so she had been keeping them home from school. Thanks be to God that late the afternoon before we had some Wal Mart gift cards donated to us. With the gift cards we were able to go to Wal Mart and purchase running shoes for the kids. The mom was so grateful to receive the backpacks, school supplies and shoes for her kids. This mom desperately wants to work and has been searching for the past two months but in the mean time she will need to get some social assistance as she conducts her job search. This woman doesn’t own a phone so it’s been difficult for her to arrange it. We found out that she hadn’t eaten in a day so we fed her lunch and as she was eating we got a surprise call from Deb, our Region of Peel Outreach Worker, that she was five minutes away and planning to drop by for a visit! God’s timing is always so perfect. Deb was able to meet with this mom and get her all set up for social assistance.
The Working Poor
So many of our clients are the working poor; people who are working so hard and just can’t seem to get ahead. One such woman is a single mom of 3. Two years ago her husband unexpectedly left the family and moved out the country. The mom is now trying to support the family off the wages she makes as a Personal Support Worker as she does not receive any child support. She works through an agency so her hours are very irregular and thus so is her pay. It was a huge blessing for her when she learnt that we could help her with school supplies for her kids in grades 9, 8 and kindergarten.