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Summer program emphasizes missions

Children at vacation Bible school donate 182 packages of school supplies and 70 food items

Posted: July 3, 2009 4:13 p.m.
Updated: July 4, 2009 4:55 a.m.

A group of children sing songs at First Presbyterian Church's vacation Bible school, which included kids from Centro De Amor church in Newhall.

"One person - one kid - can make a difference," said Lori Crawford, member of First Presbyterian Church in Newhall.

Crawford looked upon 182 packages of school supplies and 70 food items to be sent to Santa Clarita families in need. All food and school supplies had been provided by kids in the church's vacation Bible school.

They brought pencils, erasers, paper, notebooks, glue, scissors, rulers and protractors. They even donated a number of backpacks.

"I think all the school items they brought will provide school supplies for 200 kids," said Wendi Lancy, director of the Santa Clarita division of Help the Children. "These items will go to 200 kids (in Santa Clarita) whose parents cannot afford to buy all the school supplies their children need."

This mission project was one facet of the recent vacation Bible school program at First Presbyterian Church in Newhall.

Crawford, who headed the mission project, said, "It is important that kids learn early to help people. We do a mission project each summer and we try to make it real so the kids can see how they are helping."

"The need to help others is a desired trait and needs to be nurtured in youngsters," she added.

During the week of June 22 through June 26, First Presbyterian Church taught children, ages 3 to 11, about God.

Crocodiles, Moses and Jesus were all part of the church's vacation Bible school in the "bayous" this year.

During the presentation's reenactments, children met Moses and joined him as he confronted Pharaoh, lived through the 10 plagues and saw the parting of the Red Sea.

As part of the program, the kids stuffed "Comfort Critters" during crafts to be sent to kids across America who lost their homes due to hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires or other catastrophes.

In an effort to place an emphasis on missions, especially the need close to home, the church partnered with Help the Children.

"From day one we had the collection boxes out, (which) reminded our kids each day about the school supplies needed by youngsters in the valley, and sent home notes about the drive," said Dorothy Ng, vacation Bible school director.

Each day the kids could see what others were bringing in. The donations were tangible and the kids were excited, Ng said.

Help the Children, formerly Hunger Defense Fund in Santa Clarita, is a food bank created especially to help valley residents and it is part of a parent organization that sends food, medicines and other items worldwide.

The founder, a Santa Clarita resident, saw the need for food in his own neighborhood so he started the Santa Clarita office of Help the Children, Lancy said.

"We start the school-supply drive to collect items in July, and we distribute everything the first week in August - just in time for school," Lancy said.

"It is a big bonus for us that the kids collected so many school items. With all the items raised by the children, we will be able to give school items to a lot more kids," she said.

First Presbyterian invited children from Centro De Amor, a Spanish-speaking church housed in the old Post Office building in Newhall, to attend Bible school with them.

"We are asked to give service. Bringing in children from Centro De Amor to participate in our VBS was just another way of doing what God wants us to do," Crawford said.

Crawford lamented that the church could not reach more kids.

"We had 103 kids in our VBS program this year," she said. "I wish we could have had more. The program touches children and lets them know that they can make a difference."


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