My children are going to school on Monday and I can't afford to buy basic school supplies. I heard the City of Refuge down the street is giving away backpacks and school supplies today.
Today a bunch of the college students from my church in ATL went to help out at The City of Refuge. They cater to the most dangerous zip code in ATL where there is a lot of drug dealings and prostitution. Today was The City of Refuge's Back to School event where they threw a giant party for the neighborhood kids. There were inflatables, bubbles, hotdogs, a speaker, and school supply giveaways. To be honest, almost all the parents brought their children there to get the free backpack.
My part in this whole event was to help with registration and crowd control. There are 3 memorable events from today.
1) As I was cleaning up the registration area of litter, I saw the word "Gang" written multiple times with chalk and also a heart inscribed with "RIP MOM." Wow, what brokenness...
2) When typing in a child's name and parent's name, I discovered that an 11th grader had a daughter in kindergarten! That means she became pregnant at age 10. And it was common to find a mother with children from three different fathers. Some parents didn't even know how to spell their child's name...
3) These children were SO thirsty for physical contact. Many of the girls came and held my hands or jumped into my arms without even knowing who I was. They wouldn't stop hugging me.
I had to remind myself, we live in a fallen world where sin has destroyed relationships. God, how we thirst for the hope of your restored Kingdom! The Kingdom where there is no death nor darkness, and where life and love abounds plentifully.