Thanks to generous donations from the Epiphany Community, the United Way of Center Maryland, and other individual donors, 56 students were able to come and pick out all of their school supplies that they need to succeed for the coming school year at Epiphany’s “Back to School Nite” on August 14, 2018, which was also a resource fair type of event with folks here to register children for CHIP (health insurance), free eye exams, and registration for free before- and after-school care through the Homework Club). A total of 98 people were served by this resource fair type of ministry, and five families went shopping at the Free Food Store while they were here.
“I am always humbled by the number of people in need of the things we can provide” says Richard Williams, Epiphany’s junior warden and volunteer at Back to School Nite. He says he has “found a tremendous joy that I have done my small part to help others. I invite everyone to join me and volunteer so you can experience that joy as well.” Lesa Gould, another volunteer that night, remembers that joy in one mother in particular of two children. “She had a big smile on her face as she told me that that morning, she woke up distraught and uncertain how to overcome the need for supplies. She did a lot of praying that morning and thankfully ended up here that night. Not a bit of worry was on her face by the time we were done and she expressed just how grateful she was for this.”
At the beginning of the evening, Kristofer gathered the volunteers briefly to talk about how, when being community with one another, there is no “us” and there is no “them”. Families were being connected with physical resources, and by doing that in community, sacred connections between people were being made. “It was really good to reconnect with the children of the Homework Club from last year and their parents” said Peggy Blades, a regular Homework Club volunteer. Her grandchildren came along with her, both to volunteer and to pick out supplies, embodying how there is no “us” and there is no “them”. Peggy concluded that it “was a good experience for all.”
And it really was! Marge Bryant said it was “a fabulous Back to School Nite at Epiphany. It just made my heart feel warm to be part of what was offered in kindness for the community.” She and Kim McDonald both agree—we should do this again.
And the Good News is that we will! It may be a while before the next Back to School Nite, but we’re less than a month away from the next Pantry-on-the-Go event, which is Tuesday, September 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. Opportunities to give of your time and volunteer with the Epiphany Community abound, and all are encouraged to engage with them to the extent that they are able.
Again, thank you to all who showed up in one way or another to help make this years inaugural Back to School Nite the wonderful evening of Community making that it was.