Schoolbags Bring Hope To Destitute Children

Year of Youth: Joy in Service

Throughout the Year of Youth we will be highlighting stories of young people ‘Opening New Horizons for Spreading Joy’. For the months of Feb – April we will focus on ‘Joy in Service’. If you have stories to share on the theme ‘Joy in Service’– please email media.cym@perthcatholic.org.au

 Schoolbags Bring Hope To Destitute Children

By Michael Soh

Education is free in the Philippines and children have no issues walking for kilometres to get to school. Sadly, many cannot afford school supplies, let alone bus fares, and therefore cannot attend school.

Perth non-for-profit organisation Buckets For Jesus sees education as a priority and a way of getting these kids out of poverty.

It has an annual project, ‘Schoolbags For Jesus’ where thousands of sponsored specially-designed drawstring ‘schoolbags’ are filled with exercise books, stationery, clothes and toys.

The project is well-participated each year, with Buckets For Jesus volunteers, primary schools, youth groups and parishes involved with packing the schoolbags to be shipped in a container to the Philippines.

Photo from Mic Soh

Buckets For Jesus’ team of volunteers recently embarked on a two-week mission trip to the Philippines, where the majority of time was spent blessing needy children in Cebu, Dumaguete and Manila with schoolbags.

The three founding members were joined by locally based family and friends as well as the principal and five graduates of Acts 2 College Mission and Evangelisation.

During the mission trip, outreaches were conducted at schools, orphanages and slum areas, where the group got to see the poverty and conditions that the children live in.

Once all the children at each place had received Schoolbags, the children were asked to stand up and hold their bags high as they were led in giving thanks and praise to God, for the emphasis is always on giving God the glory for His gifts.

Buckets For Jesus volunteers were also able to witness first-hand the joy on the children’s faces as they opened the schoolbags. Many of these children had not ever received gifts. In addition, the children and their mothers were also delighted to receive Bibles and rosaries.

Besides the distributions of schoolbags, Buckets For Jesus also found time to spend with the Missionaries of the Poor’s elderly, the Missionaries of Charity’s toddlers and disadvantaged children and also took part in the He Cares Orphanage’s feeding program.

Photo from Mic Soh

Buckets For Jesus has conducted 25 mission trips to the Philippines to serve the poorest of the poor; have a housing project for the homeless, rebuilding villages with purpose-designed houses after Typhoon Haiyan; and also have their annual Containers For Jesus project where they collect other pre-owned donations to ship over with the schoolbags.

It welcomes anyone to volunteer, whether it’s packing schoolbags and donations, collecting donations or even travelling with them to the Philippines.

Their fundraising events have been well attended, and on their agenda for this year are a Curry Night, Quiz Night, Movie Night and a Bazaar sale.

Buckets For Jesus can be contacted at bucketsforjesus@gmail.com and you can visit their website www.bucketsforjesus.org.