We just wrapped up another year at the Pirate Pantry today. We saw the students for the last time before summer. I hate to see them go. Sure, I’ve been counting down to summer with my boys and coach/teacher husband for weeks. But for these kids, summer looks a lot different than it does for my family.
As they came in today, I asked them if they were excited about summer. Some said yes. Some said no. Some shrugged. One said, “I hate it.” I said, “You hate SUMMER?” And he said “Yes.” When I asked why he said, “I don’t get to be up here for 8 hours of the day.”
School is a safe place for him.
I wish I knew his story.
There are so many poor and underprivileged students hidden in pockets of privilege.
Most of our school is full of students who have more than they need. Of everything. Clothes and food and friends and school supplies and opportunities and advocates and weekend trips. I could go on. And on.
Our district is the third fastest growing public school district in the state of Texas. As the schools grow, so do the needs.
Tonight as I’m reflecting over the past year, I’m overwhelmingly grateful that we have the resources to help these students. Junior high is hard enough when all your basic needs are met. But when you’re hungry, need deodorant, and are wearing the same clothes you had on yesterday, it’s a whole new hard.
I’m so thankful for the local churches who provide food bags every Friday and extra money for us to buy anything else the students need.
I’m so thankful for parents who consistently donate food and hygiene products so these kids can add to their food bags every Friday.
I’m so thankful that this can be a ministry in the schools that meets these students right where they are. There’s no red tape and no application to fill out and no vetting. It’s just ordinary people seeing the need and meeting the need.
I have literally lost sleep over wondering what these kids will do to make it through the summer.
I’d like to tell you I’ve prayed about it but I have mostly just asked God to please show me what He’s gonna do. Because that’s how this gig works. He shows me needs that are much bigger than anything I could ever meet, and then He shows up and meets the needs in ways only He can.
A few weeks ago, my friends Leslie & Kristin came and sat on my front porch to give an update on their ministry. These ladies are what I like to call “crazy courageous.” They step out in faith all the time and I like to just stand back and “pray” and watch. They have a giant school bus God gave them to “take Jesus to the streets” and that’s exactly what they do.
I love hearing their stories.
This particular night on the porch, they came over to tell us they want to fill their bus with food, hygiene products, and clothing and take it to the streets. They’re going to be a clothes closet/pirate pantry/what-ever-you-want-to-call-it on wheels.
I love it. So much.
I immediately asked if they’d come out to our school district and find the students we serve, even though our district isn’t as low-income as the others. They said yes.
It gets better.
In addition to driving around all summer delivering food and hygiene products and clothing to these students, Kingdom Come is also planning ahead for back to school. In a BIG WAY. They are going to spend the first part of the summer rallying sponsors to get at least 1,500 school uniforms donated for students in the lowest income schools in our city who have to wear uniforms. The God-sized goal is this: 1,500 uniform sets (that includes a shirt, pants, 6 pairs of socks and 6 pairs of underwear) at $30 each. So we (yes I’m joining them) need about $45,000. No big deal. For God.
I share all of this jumbled story because I love that, in God’s economy, it’s not jumbled at all. The passions He puts in the hearts of His people is not there by accident. It’s all by design. It’s all for the sake of building His kingdom on earth. For now, this is one very tangible and practical way we can serve the least of these.