The Jetpack Project
Do you remember the rectangle pizza they served for lunch at school? Most kids get excited about pizza day at school and spend the whole morning anticipating the taste, the texture, and the smell. Our tastes may have graduated from the delicious rectangle of pizza greatness, but meals are a fixture at every stage of life. As adults, we still look forward to the lunch hour. Where will we eat? What are they serving in the cafeteria at work? Who will eat with us?
For people of all ages, a meal does more than meet our physical needs. We also enjoy the fellowship that comes from a meal shared with others. Food affects our thought patterns and ability to focus throughout the day. If you can’t pull a chair up to the table and enjoy a meal, you’re missing out on significant parts of life that go beyond filling your belly. But what if you knew your next meal wasn’t coming until three days from now, instead of three hours from now?
Many of us will go home on Friday night and make dinner plans for the weekend, while children throughout our cities eagerly wait for Monday morning when breakfast will be served at their school cafeteria. When children of low income or food deficient homes go to school, they can be sure they’ll get two meals every day. But when the school’s kitchen is closed, many of these kids don’t have dependable sources of food. That’s where the Jetpack Project comes in!
Lifehouse Church (TN) partners with their local food pantry, The Well Outreach, to serve 353 meals per week to schoolchildren in their city. The Jetpack Project feeds these kids when school is not in session (over weekends and holidays). Lifehouse Church wants to bring hope to the Spring Hill community, so they, along with several other supporting organizations, joined The Well Outreach in this cause.
The Well Outreach purchases food in bulk from Second Harvest Food Bank, and partnering organizations, like Lifehouse Church, sponsor local schools by buying that food and delivering it to the classrooms. The Life Groups at Lifehouse Church take turns separating food and packing bags so each one has the correct amount of food and a variety of options. Once the bags are packed, they are delivered to schools on Fridays, filled with enough food to last the weekend.
As important as it is to meet basic needs, Jetpacks do more than provide meals for a weekend. They restore a sense of dignity to kids, provide hope, and free children to focus on something besides where their next meal is coming from. Instead, they can learn and rest and play. Taking part in such a simple program is a way for Lifehouse Church to fulfill Matthew 25:35-40; they are feeding the hungry who live among them.
A domino can knock down an object 1.5 times its own size. Through the Jetpack Program, 353 meals are provided for school children each week — think of the domino effect those meals could have in that many lives. What might a bag of chips, gifted through God’s providence, yield 28 years down the road? As Lifehouse Church finds ways to serve children in their city, they’re making an investment they believe God will multiply many times over.