A Sunday school project to benefit kids in poverty

Jul. 24, 2013 @ 12:40 PM

Sunday school students at Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church – from kindergarteners up through senior adults – worked together this summer for a hands-on project to benefit children in poverty.
The intergenerational Sunday school class put together 100 Kindergarten Kits to be distributed by Durham’s Partnership for Children. The idea grew from the Faith Summit on Child Poverty held earlier this year, and is part of Trinity Avenue Presbyterian’s overall effort to address poverty in Durham. The summit was presented by Durham’s Partnership for Children and End Poverty Durham.
The Rev. Katie Crowe, senior pastor, said the congregation wanted to plan Sunday school this summer around discussion and connection with the issue. About 30 people participated in the project, and some went to deliver kits to Genesis Home on Sunday, a facility that helps families move on from homelessness.
“It was a way to make real a difficult lesson,” Crowe said. “With homelessness in particular, we were trying to explain to children the difference between an affluent lifestyle and poverty,” she said. During Sunday school, children saw photographs of other kids’ bedrooms around the world, both those full of things and those without. It taught them that not everybody has the same things they have, she said.
“Jesus loves all children, and the world is not as it should be for all children,” Crowe said.
Winnie Morgan, the faith initiative coordinator for Durham’s Partnership for Children, said this was a terrific summer faith project for Trinity Avenue, and she would love to have other congregations volunteer to put the kits together. Kits cost about $10 each, she said, and are delivered to under-resourced homes with pre-K children who are not in pre-K programs.
Kathryn Lester-Bacon, director of family ministries at Trinity Ave Presbyterian, said the kits were a tactile, tangible reminder of what some kids don’t have, and included items like block shapes, scissors, a bilingual book, a packet of face cards showing different emotions, and scrap paper to encourage story telling.
The items were recognizable to the children putting them together, Lester-Bacon said, and were an easy connection for them to make with other children. Sunday school also included a devotion “to tie in what we’re doing with what we believe. God welcomes all children, regardless of who they are or what they own.”
Lester-Bacon said church members, including the adults, were interested in more service projects in Sunday school.
Crowe said the summer Sunday school project has laid the groundwork in the children’s minds for what the church will continue doing this fall. Trinity Avenue is raising $10,000 for local missions. On Oct. 5, the church will hold a community arts festival that is a celebration of home. It will feature music and art, with money going toward the $10,000 goal to help local groups that address poverty in Durham.