UCC General Synod service project donations top 13K, ready Cleveland students for school
When children in Cleveland go to the Back to School Resource Fair this Friday, Aug. 7, in their Broadway-Slavic Village neighborhood to collect free backpacks full of school supplies, they’ll be taking home love and support from people all across the United Church of Christ.
That’s due to generous donations to the General Synod 2015 service project, Stuff the Pack. Overwhelming response from Synod attendees provided 1,100 stuffed backpacks and enough additional school supplies to fill another 1,500 backpacks to the UCC’s community partner, University Settlement, a nonprofit social service agency that has been serving the city of Cleveland since 1926.
University Settlement representatives says they are grateful to have been selected as a partner by the United Church of Christ in their Reading Changes Lives Initiative.
“We’ve found out how much money we were able to save because of the donations from UCC- $13,000! This number is just phenomenal and will allow us to help more youth who attend the University Settlement Back to School Fair,” said Krissie Wells, University Settlement development manager. “I can’t thank you enough for your coordination and partnership. I am just in awe of what you and the congregations have done!”
It was a group effort, with lots of folks going above and beyond to make the project a success. People like the Rev. Greg Larsen, senior minister of First Congregational UCC in Detroit, who drove through storms from Michigan to Cleveland on Sat., June 27, with a van load of collected school supplies.
In fact, donations easily surpassed the original goal of 1,000 stuffed backpacks, and project organizers had to rent a moving van at the last minute to haul all of the supplies out of the convention center. The Rev. Bryn Smallwood-Garcia, senior pastor of The Congregational Church of Brookfield, Conn., donated a check to cover the costs of the truck.
Project coordinator Angela Barnes said school supplies are still coming in from congregations.
“We were thrilled by the enthusiastic support of Reading Changes Lives activities from General Synod attendees in Cleveland,” said the Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, one of the UCC national officers. “Many of our congregations are continuing literacy activities so we will keep the Reading Changes Lives website active for several months in support of that work. Remaining funds will be invested on ongoing literacy work across the life of the church.”
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