I then heard that Sarah, another missionary here in Jaco, had organized for backpacks & supplies to be donated to every child (around 130 total) in one of the neighborhoods. Amazing!! Sarah let me know that if there were any extras, I could distribute them to needy families in Copey.
6 backpacks stuffed with school supplies, along with extra notebooks, pencil sharpeners, rulers, and pencil cases were left over and given to me at the beginning of the week. The local church I attend also let me know they had backpacks and other school supplies if I needed them.
Now the next step: How to distribute the supplies?
It's hard to give to some, but not everyone. The truth is, that everyone is needy in Copey. But at the same time, some people are able to provide. And doesn't it feel good to be able to provide for your family? I think so. I think that when parents are able to provide for their kids, it empowers them. But I think it's also important to help families that simply cannot provide.
I came up with the idea to do a seminar in the church for mothers with large families. For every mother who attends, they will receive a backpack full of supplies for each child in their family. That way, the donations include the local church in giving, and it seems more "fair" as to why certain families are receiving. The seminar will be this Saturday and given by the pastor's wife, a mother of 3.
On Monday I received a phone call from an 11 year old in one of the families that would be invited to the seminar:
Katie: KAREN! YOU ARE LATE! TODAY IS MY DAY FOR THE CAMP AND YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE PICKED ME UP ALREADY! WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?
Me: You're right, today is your day for the camp but you are calling an hour early, it doesn't start until 1:30
Katie: WELL YOU BETTER BE HERE ON TIME! then she whispers... Karen, can you hear me? The real reason I'm calling is because I need school supplies. My mom won't send me to school until I have everything, and we don't have anything. I need for my 2 brothers and myself. Can you help us? BECAUSE IF YOU'RE LATE, THAN I JUST WON'T COME!
Me: Well, I'm talking with the church to see how they can help. I'll let you know in a few days.
Katie: FINE! BYE!
It was an interesting way of asking for help, but I got the picture. She didn't want anyone to know she was asking, and she needed an excuse to call me. So she yelled at me on the phone and then whispered her request.
Organizing a seminar & materials to be donated has become quite the extra job, but it will be well worth it knowing that parents will send there kids to school on the first day, because they have all the materials.