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November is National Gratitude Month. This month, The Messenger will be featuring articles that highlight the generosity of our church family, as well as our recognition that we all have seasons of need and how we can love, value, and appreciate one another.

The end of summer brought bittersweet emotions to the Dorris Dann Kids Campus this year. While students looked forward to reconnecting with friends and starting a new school year, many lacked the supplies they needed to feel ready. At our after-school program, which aims to serve the community’s children in El Monte, the staff knew that for some students, the first day of school might be marked more by anxiety than excitement.

That's why the Church of Our Saviour in San Gabriel stepped in with their annual "Blessing of the Backpacks" ceremony. What started as a small-scale service has blossomed into a communitywide effort to equip students for success. By the September 10, 2023, service, congregation members and generous contributors looking to make a difference had donated over 85 backpacks overflowing with notebooks, pencils, markers, and more.

For children in need, something as simple as a new backpack can provide a much-needed confidence boost and bolster self-esteem. Proper school supplies also help set students on a path toward academic success. The backpacks donated by the Church carried more than just physical supplies—they represented hope. The colorful notebooks and sharpened pencils symbolized the potential of a fresh start to the new school year. With their bags filled with all the tools needed to learn, students gained some self-assurance to tackle the year ahead.

"These donations are really meaningful to students because many of them don’t get a choice, since many of their school supplies may be used hand-me-downs. With the donations, the students are able to actually choose what they want, and as a result they got really excited about it because everything they received was brand new," said Marguerite Ponce, Program Director at Dorris Dann Kids Campus.

As students face new challenges, whether attending school in person or at home, the Church of Our Saviour has once again shown that simple generosity can make a profound difference. Though the backpacks hold seemingly ordinary items, they carry so much more: the promise of support, confidence, and joy for learning.

THANK YOU to all our wonderful donors for sending backpacks and school supplies our way and helping school children get ready to learn!

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