For the second time in three years, members of the Kearney United Methodist Church and other Kearney friends provided help with school supplies for PATCH kids living in the Kansas City area. Lou Marchbank, PATCH volunteer driver, spearheaded the effort that included a new backpack, a few basic school supplies and a gift card per child given to the caregiver to help with the purchase of the rest of what was on the school supply list. Lou explains, “PATCH is doing great things to keep incarcerated moms and their kids connected, but the unsung heroes in this are the aunts and uncles, grandparents and single dads who are struggling to raise these innocent children. These sweet kids have so little and really appreciate getting a new backpack and supplies to start the new school year.”


Aiden, age 12, is pictured with his new backpack, provided by members of the Kearney United Methodist Church.
Special Delivery! Each child was able to select a backpack from this wide assortment.

How Did They Do It?

Lou and friends made a list of basic school supplies determined by the child’s grade level, listed this information on a card with the child’s name and provided the cards to church members. Cash donations were also accepted to help with the purchase of backpacks and $25 Walmart gift cards. They quickly realized they needed more.

The Rest of the Story

A search for more backpacks began. She answered an ad on one of the swap shops – a man was selling new Jansport backpacks for $15. She told him she was looking for some for a church project, and sent him the link to PATCH. She said they would be asking for help from the congregation, but if they didn’t have enough, they would be buying some of his.

After she got home from church the next day, she got this text from him:

“Hi Lou, I wanted to let you know that I was able to make back what I spent on these backpacks by selling some yesterday. I still have more, and I wanted to donate the rest to your church so you can minister to those kids. As I was sitting in church today, the Holy Spirit placed it upon my heart to contact you and donate my remaining inventory. If you are still in need, let me know and hopefully you can meet sometime soon. Talk soon Lou!”

They drove to his home in Parkville and picked them up that afternoon. The school supplies were delivered to the homes of many of the kids by Lou and her husband, Gary, PATCH volunteer drivers. Each child chose a backpack from the large assortment.