Blessing Kids in Need in SE Idaho

In a moment when inflation has risen and real economic wealth has declined, especially for those with lower incomes, the opportunity for kids to get a backpack filled with a year’s worth of school supplies absolutely free is welcome news indeed.

For the past 14 years, Gate City Community Church of Chubbuck, Idaho has lived out a vision of helping those kids in need with school supplies. Beginning by serving fewer than 100 kids, it has grown to a pre-pandemic high point of serving more than 2,200 children in 2019. For the past 5 years, Grace Lutheran Church in Pocatello has partnered with Gate City to help host this ever-expanding event — and it has grown to include more than 50 sponsors and vendors to provide medical, safety, fire, and dental advice and screenings and many over local services.

It also now includes providing clothing and shoes for kids and their parents. The Idaho Food Bank supplies nearly a month’s worth of food for families, as food insecurity continues to plague this segment of our community. There have been games for kids, lunch, and much more.

The pandemic took a bite out of this event, and it was forced to eliminate many of those extra services. Just weeks ago, Gate City Community Church reached out to Grace Lutheran Church, asking if they could take on the event completely and sponsor and host it, with the goal of reaching more kids and providing those services. Grace quickly agreed, and 2023 will be a year of transition for this event coming up on August 5!

This year, the focus will be sharpened to help as many kids as possible with school supplies and food. Grace is grateful for the help of the Lutheran community and the District, especially LCEF, for providing a huge percentage of the funding needed to purchase the supplies needed. Hirning Buick/GMC (Grace member Kelly Hirning), along with Pearl Health Counseling, is providing additional “anchor sponsor” funding. Individual members from Grace have provided the remainder of the funds to support the event.

We are grateful for the opportunity to reflect the love and generosity of Jesus to our community and are reminded of our Lord’s words in John 13: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Jonathan Dinger

Grace Lutheran Church and School, Pocatello, ID

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