Thanksgiving in a Backpack

Praying over the backpack, before dropping it off at church!

We’ve had our turkey, stuffing, and second helpings of pumpkin pie, but the memory of participating in Thanksgiving in a Backpack still leaves our family’s hearts full.

As a church, we teamed up with Giving Children Hope’s “We’ve Got Your Back” Program. The goal of Thanksgiving in a Backpack was simple~ over 1,000 backpacks were available to fill with Thanksgiving food  items, and  teachers from participating schools gave the filled backpacks to students in need, to ensure a Thanksgiving experience. Simple, but the impact was huge!

Imagine, a student attending school, just like any other day, only to be gifted a backpack by their teacher. A backpack bursting with instant mashed potatoes, canned meat, fruit, juice, and all the other Thanksgiving goodies.  Huge? Yes, for that student and his or her family.  Thanksgiving dinner was served!

But for our family, especially our three year- old and one year- old boys, it was a teaching moment. One to reflect on the abundant blessings we have, and more importantly, to emphasize the gift of blessing others.

We made a family adventure out of it, explaining to our boys that we were headed to the grocery store to choose yummy, healthy foods for a family that doesn’t have an opportunity to have Thanksgiving dinner. Tanner, our oldest, quickly caught on that he could pick out his favorite foods for the family. In the cart went his preferred cereal, juice, and macaroni and cheese. With each item, he grinned, saying it was going to a family, with a boy his age! Our list complete, we headed home to fill the backpack.
Sitting on the kitchen floor, surrounded by the Thanksgiving food, we prayed over each food item. Tanner in his sweet, three year-old voice, “God, please make the family happy with this soup.” “God, thank you for these veggies {what kid prays for veggies?}” 

Another food.  

Another prayer.  

Another reminder that we have so much to be thankful for. 

What a fabulous opportunity to show our boys a tangible demonstration of blessing another family. Our eyes were damp with tears as the four of us huddled on the floor, hands on the stuffed backpack, praying for the family that would receive the Thanksgiving meal. That night, the Thanksgiving in a Backpack tradition was born.

So, to the family that enjoyed the Cheerios, peach fruit cups, and surprise hot chocolate packets, be blessed.

I know we were! Because that’s what giving is all about, each of us helping out one another, the best we can. Nothing better than having our hearts full with thanksgiving!