Concordia Publishing House employees handed some 600 neighborhood school children new backpacks, along with school supplies and Christ-centered literature during the Synod publisher’s 2009 “Operation FUN (For a United Neighborhood) –– Tools for Schools” event Aug. 5.
Providing school supplies — mostly purchased by or with donations from CPH’s 250 employees — was a new focus for “Operation FUN” as it reached out to CPH’s South Side neighbors.
Just the night before, a local TV news hour included a report that at least 80,000 St. Louis area students would not be able to afford new school supplies for the upcoming year.
“This is great, especially in this tough economy,” said Dianne Davis, of her first-ever Operation FUN, as her two young daughters — Kaitlyn (11) and Kelly (9) — donned their new backpacks and accompanying smiles.
“It’s always really nice,” said Jane Jones, who hasn’t missed a single Operation FUN. This year, she brought seven of her grandchildren along to pick up school supplies.
In previous years, the event focused more on games, prizes, entertainment, and distributing Christian literature.
As it has done in past years, CPH promoted Operation FUN 2009 by working with local schools.
“Operation FUN — Tools for School is an opportunity for CPH to help meet real needs of the people in our local community,” said Dr. Bruce Kintz, the publishing house’s president and CEO. “Sharing the love of God in Christ with the church and world is what we do at CPH, and through the willing time and effort of our employees, we are able to make a small, but ultimately perhaps an eternal difference in the lives of the people we see in this neighborhood every day. Operation FUN puts the CPH mission into tangible action, right here at home.”
“I like how Operation FUN reaches out to the entire community, so that anyone who needs help can get it,” said Jake Sostak, 17, as he handed kids and adults cans of cold drinks to wash down hot dogs and other food items CPH provided.
Sostak was working with several fellow members of the new Key Club at Lutheran High School of St. Charles County — who were making the event one of their club’s service projects.
St. Louis Alderman Craig Schmid of the 20th Ward, where CPH has been located in the Dutchtown neighborhood throughout its 140-year history, dropped by Operation FUN, as he has done in years past.
“It’s a terrific idea,” Schmid commented to Reporter. “CPH is always working to be relevant for its community.”
Also on hand for the event were a Farmers Insurance representative who distributed 500 child-identification kits; personnel from the City of St. Louis Health Department, sharing information about lead safety, and leaders of a St. Louis Boys Club.
Dana Neuhaus, senior manager of Human Resources for CPH, was instrumental in working with local schools and CPH employees for this year’s Operation FUN.
“Overall, I would have to say the day was a complete success,” she wrote in an e-mail message, “since every child received a backpack filled with supplies and a book talking about Jesus’ love. … I believe the employees at CPH have a Christian mission heart and look at Operation FUN as one more way in which they are able to share the love of Christ with others.”
Posted Aug. 12, 2009