One in four children in Pierce County is hungry. A school cafeteria may be the only way some children receive nutritious food every day.
Students in households with incomes below 130% of the poverty level or those receiving SNAP or TANF qualify for free meals. Those with family incomes between 130% and 185% of the poverty line qualify for reduced-price meals.
In our own backyard, over 70% of students in the Franklin Pierce School District qualify for free or reduced lunch. Additionally, over 42% of students in the Puyallup School District qualify for free or reduced lunch.
That’s a big problem.
In 2012, Our Savior began to be part of a solution and launched the Backpacks 4 Kids program.
We could not have ever imagined what God had in mind and how He would use simple food bags and tens of thousands of volunteer hours to build an incredibly deep and powerful relationship with school administrators, board members, classroom teachers, counselors, social workers, students, and community leaders.
That’s the power of saying “yes” to what God is nudging and leading you to do - even when you don’t know what to do or how to do it. When we make ourselves available to God for the good work that He has prepared for us to do, God shows up in incredible ways.
10 years later, each bag is still packed with nutritious foods, including shelf-stable items for both the students and their family. Students receive the backpacks on Fridays through their school counselors and support staff to bridge the gap on the weekends. We’ve expanded our program to include breakfast bags, school break bags, and other resources available to students and their families throughout the week.
Here is what people are saying about Backpacks 4 Kids, today:
From the outside-looking-in, it is a high-impact social and community service program.
From the inside-looking-out, it is a highly effective way of growing faith, deepening relationships, widening influence where we live, work, learn, and play.
Powerful, life-changing stuff, indeed.
And we aren’t going to stop here because God continues to lead us forward in feeding hungry tummies and souls.
Literally, this week, we received the official permits to break ground and remodel our West Campus building to become our Community Commons Hub which will over double our ability to expand the backpack program and deepen relationships even more. Praise God!
With this permit in hand, we will be updating you with details and a timeline as soon as we get it from Lincoln Construction (the same contractor who oversaw the 2017 rebuilding of our Main Campus Facility).
For now, here’s your personal invitation to this year’s Novemberfest Celebration and Event and November Food Drive.
Novemberfest - Join us online, Thursday, November 3 at 6:30, oslc.com/novemberfest. The goal is to raise $25,000 which will be matched for a total of $50,000. Hear how our B4K program works, how volunteers are involved, and best of all, hear stories of real-life impact for students who receive our bags!
Food Drive - Canned chili provides protein to hungry students in our B4K program. This year, it has been hard to source and more expensive - but you can help! In November, we will collect donations of canned chili, culminating at the Thanksgiving worship service. Drop off donations in the church lobby.
Meet Pastor Tim
Tim Bayer has served as Our Savior's Lead Pastor since September 2019. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor at Concordia University - Irvine, a National Leadership Facilitator and Resource, and a Community Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Tim studied sociology, psychology, and theology prior to earning his M.Div at Concordia Seminary - St. Louis. He has also is a candidate for an Ed.D (ABD) in Transformational Leadership. He is married to Beth and they have three young children. Together, they enjoy exploring the outdoors, experiencing culture, and pizza and movie nights.