This post was originally posted at OurElement.org.
I’m reposting it here, to reach a broader audience outside of our church blog’s readership. If you’re from out of town, and am interested in contributing to our North Santa Barbara outreach, comment or get a hold of me. I can make that happen.
If you’re interested in getting something started like this in your own community, let me know and I can put you in touch with one or more of our local group’s leadership.
Here’s the article I wrote…
“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:40 ESV)
Take a moment to envision with me a common experience in any city in the US.
You’re in middle school and come home from school to find someone from Child Protective Services (CPS) and a police officer waiting for you. They tell you that your single parent made a mistake, and you’re going to have to go with CPS so that they can find you a safe place to sleep tonight.
Situations like this happen often, but there other times when the situation has no criminal or law enforcement element.
A teenager might have the wherewithal to know what to grab on the way out of the house. But what if it’s a crime scene now, and you cannot even enter your own home? What if all you have is your backpack for school and a skateboard?
Here in the Santa Maria Valley, we have this outreach that helps prepare people like the CPS staff with the most basic of items that they can have ready for situations just like this. They call them GoBags.
At Element, we’ve helped put together these GoBags in the past, and we’re doing it again. During the month of November, after each service, there will be a table set up where you can get any questions answered, and pick up a large zip lock bag with all the instructions. You can choose between making up a bag for an infant, toddler, school-aged child, or a teenager.
All we ask is that you go purchase the items on the list and return the bags to us within the month of November. These are regular items that you would need to make that first few nights not as bad as it could have been. The list has common items for their first nights such as: Pajamas, a Toothbrush, Socks, a Blanket, and a small toy or coloring book. We ask that these are new items for safety and hygiene reasons.
Then just bring the filled bag, along with the original instruction card, to the GoBag booth before or after the service you attend.
Again, we’ll be doing this all of November. Please take the time to consider how supporting children with GoBags can and does impact our community here in the Santa Maria Valley.
“But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’” (Matthew 19:14 ESV