Boxes sit stacked along a wall in a Mad River Local School hallway. Inside, donated backpacks sit waiting to become students' first day-of-school backpacks. And as Shannon Todd, MVLF's Mentoring Program Director; Pastor Dan Powell, the Hope4Riverside (H4R) director; and Chad Wyen, Mad River Local School superintendent, open a box, they find more than they expected.
For three years, H4R has partnered with Mad River Local Schools to host the "Day of Giving Back" event in Riverside. On their first day back to school, teachers gather with H4R pastors and area volunteers to distribute back-to-school supplies to Riverside students at five distribution locations, where "Day of Giving Back" events offer cookouts, face painting, games, and more. The "Day of Giving Back" has become a seminal event in Riverside.
Then, in March, COVID-19 arrived. Its restrictions made it difficult for H4R and Mad River Local Schools to coordinate any planning for 2020's "Day of Giving Back," including plans for donation collection, the crux of the event. But God made it clear He wants another "Day of Giving Back" to happen in Riverside.
Crayons to Classrooms, an area nonprofit, reached out to Mad River Local Schools and donated 1,000 backpacks. Some of the backpacks, it was communicated, already held school supplies. It seemed the "Day of Giving Back" was back. All that was needed was a little bit of planning and donations to fill the majority of backpacks. And then again, God showed up.
When the backpack boxes were opened, ALL the backpacks—not some of them—were found to have supplies in them. A few packets of pencils and some markers were all that were needed still. And Riverside churches have already begun to collect those items.
This year's "Day of Giving" will take place on August 25 at two drive-up locations for families.