Local Ministries to Make Back-to-School Easier on Area Kids and Families by Providing Free Backpacks

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Now in its third year, Mission Upstate will provide 2,000 free backpacks for Greenville-area kids and families in need. Fifteen local churches and one Spartanburg kids sports league are filling backpacks with school supplies for elementary, middle and high school students. The backpacks will be distributed at Woodruff Road Chick-Fil-A on August 6, 2011.

“A big expense for any family with children—but especially for single parents—is back-to-school time. We thought if we could provide them with basic school supplies that would help them in this tough economy.”

A backpack filled with school supplies is a tall order for many kids and families, but especially for single parents in the Greenville area. That’s why fifteen Greenville-area churches and one Spartanburg kids sports league are linking arms to provide 2,000 of these backpacks for free through a program called Mission Upstate.

The Mission Upstate outreach started in 2009, when five like-minded churches got together to seek out ways to meet the needs of their community. Since more than 16% of Greenville’s residents live in poverty, the churches looked for practical ways to help. Greg Kelley, administrative pastor at Rocky Creek Baptist Church, explains: “A big expense for any family with children—but especially for single parents—is back-to-school time. We thought if we could provide them with basic school supplies that would help them in this tough economy.”

Now in its third year, the distribution effort involves fifteen Woodruff Road area churches, who plan to fill and distribute 2,000 backpacks for elementary, middle and high school students.

The churches reached out to Upward Sports, a kids sports league headquartered in Spartanburg, for assistance with providing backpacks to be filled. The resulting donation of 1,000 backpacks will help Mission Upstate to accomplish its ambitious ministry goals.

Kyle Estepp, pastor and elder at Summit Church, is working with Kelley to organize the program. “In particular,” Estepp explains, “we want to bless and encourage single parents and those in need and remind them that God loves them extravagantly and has demonstrated that perfectly in the person and work of Jesus Christ.”

If you or someone you know needs help with a back-to-school backpack, stop by the Woodruff Road Chick-Fil-A on August 6, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to noon to meet the Mission Upstate team.

Rocky Creek Baptist Church is a Christ-centered, Bible-based fellowship meeting at 1801 Woodruff Road in Greenville. Summit Church has two area campuses—one in Mauldin and one in Cherrydale.
Upward Sports, founded in 1995 as a youth basketball league, is now the world’s largest Christian sports league for kids. Last year, nearly 550,000 K5 through sixth-graders had a great basketball, soccer, flag football or cheerleading experience through one of our 2,400 fun sports leagues and camps.

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Michele Bennett Walton
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