Wesley UMC in Bethlehem is at it again. The church will hold its ninth “We Got Your Back” school backpack giveaway event this Saturday, August 21, at 8 AM to 12 noon. They will give away backpacks filled with school supplies for elementary-school-aged children, as well as new socks and underwear for those in need. Due to the resurging COVID-19 pandemic, this will again be a drive-through event for a second year. Guests and volunteers will maintain social distance during their time together.
The church’s goal is to distribute 1,500 total filled backpacks each year, at its event and through partnerships with area organizations. This year, due to a generous grant from Northampton County, Wesley UMC will send 500 filled backpacks to Covenant UMC in Bath, Pa., for a youth event they will have on Saturday, August 28. The church was to host the annual conference youth rally that day, but it was canceled because of surging COVID infection rates. Covenant will also share the surplus with churches in Wind Gap and elsewhere in Northampton County.
This year’s distribution—which is aided by the Lehigh Valley Health Network Children’s ER—will increase Wesley’s total to more than 13,500 filled backpacks given away to over 30 school districts since it started. In addition, the church partnered with Bangor First UMC in 2018 and 2019 we to help them distribute filled backpacks to their community. They now have a self-sustaining backpack giveaway program.