Breakaway Outreach has been focused on making sure that children and food-insecure households don’t get left behind during the current health crisis. Through our regional partnerships, we have been helping to provide meals, groceries, and household supplies for low-income families in East Tennessee. With the school semester already dismissed due to the Covid-19 crisis, our Summer of Hope 2020 campaign is kicking off early this year. In addition to household aid for some of the most needy in our area, our primary initiatives will be:
Modified Summer Camps: We have been communicating closely with the public health department and state officials to determine the best approach to our residential summer camp and neighborhood day camps, anticipating key info to be announced mid-May. There is much optimism about facilitating modified camps, especially the day camps in low-income neighborhoods, with smaller groupings, social-distancing tactics, and stern CDC-recommended health measures. Because our mobile camps are already so highly adaptable to ever-changing dynamics, there is tremendous flexibility with how we can engage them in this new era.
Camp Backpacks and Care Packages: Our camp backpacks will be distributed to kids who cannot attend a camp this summer. Beginning as early as May, they will be delivered to homes, transitional living facilities, homeless and domestic abuse shelters, and some community agencies that are providing childcare for essential workers. They will include: nutritious food/snacks, comfort items, a gift card, a Bible along with our camp curriculum (the story of Gideon), school supplies for at-home learning, and other exciting goodies. Supplemented with the backpacks will be care packages for families.
VBS Curriculum for Families: One of the positive aspects we have seen in serving at-risk children and their families during this pandemic is that adult parents/guardians are seeking more faith answers to life issues, some who were not so interested in the past. There are many parents of children enrolled in Breakaway programs who are now eager to explore the Bible together with their children and just need the resources to equip them. We are streamlining and distributing our camp curriculum (VBS-style) to families to use for at-home VBS sessions this summer. These low-maintenance kits are simple for families to unpack God’s Word together, and they can also be used to facilitate smaller neighborhood gatherings in a driveway, backyard, front porch, or cul-de-sac. We are super excited about this approach because families we serve will be engaging God’s Word together more now than ever before.
Birthday Blessings: As many of our partners already know, we provide birthday blessings (festive celebrations, gift giving, etc.) for underprivileged children and kids facing hardship. Many of the kids we serve through this initiative are from single parent homes, the child welfare system, or are housed in transitional living facilities (homeless mission, domestic abuse shelter, etc.). We believe that every child should feel special at least one day a year—at the very minimum on his or her birthday! With more kids being socially isolated this summer, the birthday blessing initiative is a “made-for-such-a-time-as-this” outreach, blessing children right where they are on their special day—reminding them that a community is in their corner even when it seems the world is falling apart. Because these festivities are in smaller, more intimate settings, a child’s special day doesn’t have to be affected by social distancing measures. We anticipate an increased number of birthday celebrations being part of our Summer of Hope initiatives.
Ways that you can get involved:
- Donate backpacks and/or items (food, gift cards, school supplies)
- Collect items and/or assemble some backpacks for distribution (a good serve project for families, church groups, or office teams)
- Make a monetary donation to help sustain our outreach efforts