By Sherry Koehler, Hope Lutheran Church, Tatamy, Pa.
The Women of the ELCA chapter at Hope Lutheran Church in Tatamy, Pa., decided to
participate in the “school kits” project for the Lutheran World Relief organization
The ingathering of school supplies needed for the kits expanded to include
the local chapter of Church Women United, members of various denominations.
The response was overwhelming. It was one thing to collect the items
to put into the bags; it was another to make all the 12" x14" cloth
bags into which the items were to be packed.
Initially, we approached the task of making the bags by having six young
girls in our congregation use the three sewing machines at the church
(normally used by the quilters group). None of them had any experience using
machine but were eager to learn.
Because of the number of bags needed,
other adult members of the congregation began making bags at home as well.
a lot of work for a handful of people. We needed a way to make more bags
In the meantime, we had a setback. Our church basement flooded and
many of the school items collected were ruined. We were able to
crayons by obtaining new boxes from Binney & Smith Crayola Company (produced
locally) and repackaging them. However, we lost the majority of the notebook
paper we had collected. We were able to catch up on “bag making” while
we waited to replenish/replace the items lost in the flood.
We recognized an opportunity for a service project in which school
students could play an important part. What better group to involve
kits” for world relief? Cathy Schuyler, a teacher of Family
and Consumer Science at the Nazareth Area School District Middle
School in Nazareth,
was contacted to see if this was a project in which the students
could participate. The proposal was that materials would be provided
school, so there
would be no financial burden on the school, and bags would be
made by students in
the classes as time allowed. An individual from Hope Lutheran
Church would then pick up the finished bags from the school for
at the church.
that we would need administrative approval to move forward with
project. Jane Callaghan, principal at the Nazareth Area School
School, was receptive to the idea and so the cooperative effort
Thus far, 115 tote bags have been completed by the students in Mrs. Barbara
Baylor's Family and Consumer Science classes this school year. A special
note of thanks goes to Mrs. Baylor, who has pre-cut all of the pieces for
bags to be sewn by her students. She would like to see the project continue.
Mrs. Baylor commented that she has had other projects in the past, but
never have her students responded so enthusiastically as they have to this
students realize their efforts are worthwhile and contribution of time
is just as valuable as a monetary gift.
It's wonderful to have our school be a willing partner in such
a global "educational" outreach
project. We thank the administration, staff, and students of
Nazareth Middle School for their efforts in helping others in
The school kit project at Hope Lutheran Church began with our WELCA group
(an older generation) ingathering of school supplies, continued with
the help of middle school students sewing the bags and our youth group filling
with the required school items, and finally being boxed up for shipment
once again by the WELCA group. This intergenerational effort had been rewarding
Our hope is that this article might encourage others to try the “team” approach
to accomplishing a goal that they may not have tackled on their
own. For more information, contact Hope Lutheran Church at