As a child, I spent much time at my neighbors’ homes. I was not always an invited guest. Like many Australians (and Americans), I grew up in a suburb of a mid-sized town on a street that offered a wealth of front yards ripe for exploration. These gardens were my playgrounds. I rummaged in these magical places for bugs, looked hopefully in birdbaths for a glimpse of a mythical bunyip, and (during a Nancy Drew phase) foraged for evidence of crimes needing solving.
I don’t remember meeting my neighbors that often, except when something (usually me) got stuck up a tree. Looking back now, I realize how much I flourished through the care of my unseen neighbors, the invisible angels whose patience and quiet watchfulness enriched my childhood so greatly.
Many of us who have moved to the Bay Area from a suburb or smaller town yearns to hear the happy shouts of kids walking home from school or playing driveway sports in the evening. Those of us in high-rise apartments and condos can feel like we are dislocated from the community where we live, removed from the experience of the “neighborhood” that shaped our childhoods.
There are still many ways we can be good neighbors to each other.
Our Grace Cathedral 2023 Backpack Drive is an invitation for us to show our care and support for the families of the great neighborhood of San Francisco. We seek to collect backpacks and school supplies for 115 children, with a personalized card to accompany each package. This drive will remove one source of pressure on families seeking to make ends meet in one of the most expensive cities on earth. It’s a chance to let our strong and remarkable families know that we are grateful for all they do to raise the next generation of San Franciscans.Through supporting this drive, we can be the “invisible angels” of the khat we had in our childhood, whose care helped us flourish and thrive.
This drive has been designed in partnership with two organizations that support the flourishing of our rich and diverse communities in San Francisco: The Community Preschool and Bayview Mission. It has also been shaped by the involvement of the Congregation Council, whose work is instrumental in making Grace an enriching and nurturing spiritual home for so many. Our city will remain loving and thriving as long as organizations like these are with us!
You can donate items to our drive through our Amazon Wishlist. Just to let you know, all contributions are asked for by August 7. I also invite you to learn more about the drive and card writing activities through this wonderful blog post by Eva Woo Slavitt.Eva and her team are also angels and sources of invaluable support to this initiative!
Associate for Children, Youth, and Family Ministry