I met Jeremiah on Serve Day, dark curls, first tooth missing and pulling his mom by the hand to hurry up and let him get to the play area ’cause he had playing on his mind!
River had gotten the list from Jeremiah’s school and couldn’t believe a kindergartener needed upwards of $100 worth of supplies for school. This whole sending her little man to real school was a bit overwhelming. How could he even be old enough to go yet! It was only yesterday that he loved snuggling in her lap as she read Bible stories to him at bedtime.
Her small group leader had invited her to come to the park and get school supplies as part of Serve Day at church. That’s how I met this adorable, full-of-energy little boy and his beautiful mom.
Here’s the deal: We could hand out backpacks full of supplies OR put out supplies and let moms choose/shop for the things they needed, those things their children would like. That was a no-brainer. These mamas are not asking for a handout. We just wanted to help. Besides, if kindergarten supplies cost that much, can you imagine the cost of supplies for middle school and high school?
Breath on Paper has always served and this was sure to be perfect for us. We have a strong heart to love on women.
On Saturday morning, an enclosed trailer pulled up to the Bluejay Pavilion at Oak Mountain State Park and we helped unload box after box after box of school supplies. Suited in our red “Serve” shirts, we began to organize supplies onto tables. All the backpacks together separated into boys and girls. All the paper, glue, crayons, rulers, and notebooks together. You get the picture. We had the organization part – all of us plus the other fifty who came to serve laid out every single item.
The plan was to have single moms and their kiddos come for burgers and dogs at the park, and while they were there they could shop for school supplies. Two other small groups were getting their serve on by supplying all the food! And they blessed the socks off of these families! Over a hundred hamburgers and two hundred hotdogs. But who’s counting!?!
Breath on Paper got to serve as shopping buddies, which meant getting to love on these mama’s as they shopped.
One by one they arrived to shop!
I had the honor of being paired with River, beautiful, long ringlet curls, and crystal blue eyes. It took great restraint for Jeremiah to stand still while Mom finished signing in. He wasn’t excited about school supplies; he’d never even been to ‘big school’. He had spotted a huge play zone with everything from face painting to hoola-hoop contest; enough play stations for the entire morning, sponsored by a college-age women’s small group.
“Hurry up Mom!” he tugged, “I NEED to go play!” Finally registered, River and I were pulled along to the kids’ sign-in. Jeremiah ran to the bottom of the hill to the most important part of the day — playing!
River was precious! She chose wisely as we walked through the supply tables. Ninja turtle or Spider-Man notebook? Navy blue or Pokémon backpack? 24 Crayolas, glue sticks, scissors, composition notebooks, wide-rule filler paper and on and on. She gathered up exactly what he would need.
Dressed in her red shirt, Christine came over and offered to pray with us. “Bless both of them Lord. Your Word says that You have great plans for Jeremiah and River, and we believe You Lord!” Let me tell you, Christine prayed the bark off the trees! Lastly, her husband Troy, who had been standing in the wings, offered to carry her supplies back to their car and tuck them securely in the trunk. There are still nice, godly gentlemen in this world! Troy and the other men there were proving it.
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10, 12
During our Serve Day Project, we were able to bless:
OVER 100 Single mamas, about 10 families that were in need, 1 single dad, some teachers at an elementary school, and OVER 200 children!!!!
Between the cash donations and the school supplies and food donations, we gave away:
All Jesus, y’all!! Every single item represents Jesus!!
We give Him all the praise and all the glory!!!
Thank you, Kelly, for allowing God to give you the vision. Thank you, Breath on Paper, for doing this with me, and thank you to all the others who made this day such a blessing to so many!
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Cindy Willingham is a landscape designer, small group leader, avid encourager, and sinner saved by grace who is ten years new to Birmingham, Alabama. Her sweet husband of 38 years, two married children and four grand-kiddos fill her life with unbelievable fun and sweet snuggles. She thinks God is awesome and that the best adventure starts with saying yes to that still, small voice. ~ To read Cindy’s BoP Bio click here.