The school year here begins this Monday, June 3. We are thankful to have received generous gifts designated for school supplies.
In happy news, the charitable works ministry of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Philippine mission expects to buy needed supplies for parishes of their diocese, so I can concentrate on providing for just our parish. A side benefit of building lay leaders — it is nice to have someone else competently administering the details for the Philippine Orthodox mission as a whole!
Our community includes several large, extended families. So we have 80 students (Kindergarten through Grade 12) who are children of either baptized members or catechumens. (In this context we’re not distinguishing “members in good standing” — If you’re part of St John’s family, you’re family, and your children are included.) As in most parishes, our baptismal record is much bigger than our average Sunday attendance; now, thanks to excellent record-keeping by the leaders of our Kids Club feeding program, we now know who all our children are. So in next little while we’ll be visiting families whom we haven’t seen recently, inviting them to be active in worship or at least ensure their children attend.
On Thursday I traveled to the city and bought school supplies for children of members and catechumens at St John of Shanghai.
Notebooks — Wide-ruled for little ones, narrow-ruled for older kids. (Three-ring binders, familiar to US students, are not a thing here.) Notebooks on display were all jumbled up, but mall staff were nice enough to go to the warehouse and just get me 200 of *this* kind and 200 of *that* kind, saving much time and trouble (lesson learned from last year!) And crayons – not sure why higher-grade students need them, but they’re on the recommended list for every grade. But at ₱22 (50¢) per box, they’re easy to buy. Already in the bag: Pencils for everyone and ballpoint pens for the older students.
Shopping list! I usually help out and teach at the parish’s weekly feeding (Kids Club), but I leave the administration to the amazing lay leaders who keep attendance. Our feeding program coordinator happens to also be our neighborhood’s medical worker, so she is very organized. This year she was able to give me a list of all our members’ and catechumens’ children by grade level. Glory to God for people with administrative skills!
Arithmetic wizards will note that ₱9368, or $179, for 80 students, works out to about $2.25 per student.
Packages organized for each grade group by our most excellent volunteers! Now just wait till we call your name…
About half our kids were at today’s Kids Club feeding program. Here are twenty-odd that I could get to hold still for a picture. 😃 I delivered some packages on my way home this afternoon, and more are getting sent to families around the neighborhood.
St John’s Kids say: “SALAMAT!” [Thank you!!]