2020 Blessing of the Backpack Events and School Supply Drives
The pandemic has created unique challenges for both churches and schools, and yet both seek to find a way to continue with their missions. This year, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, many churches in our diocese are not able to offer their usual "Blessing of the Backpacks" services, and are unsure of the needs of students to coordinate back-to-school supply drives to assist the local communities.
Though, maybe this year, these special blessings can be held outside in small services, or in a drive-thru event! Some churches are moving their back-to-school supply drives online. Find out more about the ways churches in our diocese are meeting these needs below. Have something to add? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back-to-School Events & Supply Drives
All Saints Episcopal Church, Hilton Head Island
All Saints is joining with other Hilton Head Island congregations and neighborhoods who are collecting school supplies and funds to benefit 1000 Jasper County children who are in dire need of assistance. Many of their parents worked on Hilton Head and lost their jobs due to the pandemic. The Antioch Educational Center in Ridgeland, SC (antiochedc.org) is the non-profit that distributes the supplies to impoverished students in Jasper County.
How to help:
The Church of the Good Shepherd, Summerville - 8.29.2020
Good Shepherd's annual school supply drive for Dorchester Children's Advocacy Center WILL take place again this year. Please bring donations to Good Shepherd on Saturday, August 29 between 10 am and 12 noon.
Good Shepherd's Youth Group members will be on hand on Luke Street in front of the church to collect the items directly from your car. The donations will be blessed in church on Sunday 8/30 and delivered to DCAC on Monday. DCAC welcomes school supplies of all kinds EXCEPT filler/lined paper and notebooks. In addition to the regular school supplies, they also have asked for any and all kinds of sanitizing supplies (wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.).
If you are unable or prefer not to go shopping for supplies in person, there are other ways to contribute:
Grace Church Cathedral, Charleston - 8.23.2020
On Sunday, August 23 from 1-3 pm, anyone with a bookbag will be able to drive through the church parking lot for a blessing and a bag tag. The church is also planning a couple of surprises that are sure to make every book bag carrier very happy! Please plan to drive through to say hello and get your book bags blessed. As it gets closer to the event, instructions for the drive-through event will be shared either by email or Grace to You.
Grace is hosting a back-to-school supply drive for HALOS. As HALOS continues to work on the logistics of the backpack drive this year, they are accepting monetary donations to fill these backpacks. Each completed backpack usually costs an average of $75.00. If you would like to help support HALOS, please mail a check to the church office (115 Wentworth Street, Charleston SC, 29401) or donate online by clicking here and selecting the HALOS fund. Please put HALOS in the memo of your check or online. Thank you for your continued support of this ministry. Contact Helen Britton (843-343-8069) or Artie Richards (843-670-6183) with any questions.
St. George's Episcopal Church - All Sundays in August
During all the Sundays of August, any administrator, student, teacher and other support person who brings their backpack or tote or briefcase to church, can have their backpack blessed. They will also receive a new “This is a Blessed Backpack” laminated tag to attach as a reminder that God is always with them.
Parishioners are also asked to donate school supplies (click here for supply list) and backpacks for students during the month of August. You may bring them on Sunday, or during the week from Tuesday through Friday after 9 and before 4.
On Sunday, September 6, all donated backpacks and school supplies will be placed at the altar of St. George’s to be blessed. The donated items will then be given to those who need them out in the schools, and to teachers from St. George’s to distribute to their needy students, along with blessed tags for the backpacks.
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Charleston - 9.13.2020
The church will host a "Blessing of the Backpacks and Digital Devices" on Sunday, September 13 during their online Sunday Service (which will be shared by 8 am). Parishioners are asked to email a picture of their child (or of themselves!) with their backpack and/or digital learning device to email@example.com by Sunday, September 6 at 4 pm. All ages are invited to participate, including teachers and professors.
St. Thomas Episcopal Church, North Charleston
The church is collecting back-to-school supplies for neighborhood schools. Suggested donation items include:pencils, marbled notebooks, glue sticks, notebooks & note paper, three-prong folders, highlighters, binders and bookbags. Please bring items to the church office Monday-Thursday 8 am to 3 pm.