Boy Scouts from Troop 223, including William Chapin, 11, helped pack and distribute 100 backpacks for students in need on August 6 at St. Matthew’s.
St. Matthew’s partners with Prism Restorative Justice, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of L.A. This community effort sought donations for school supplies to give to kids who have a parent in prison.
About 2.7 million minor children have a parent in jail or prison in this country. Children of incarcerated fathers tend to exhibit more problems in childhood and adolescence. The few studies that have examined the consequences for children of incarcerated mothers tend to focus on separation from children and housing stability. These studies often find persistent disadvantages in terms of poor education and financial circumstances, substance abuse, mental illness and domestic abuse.
The backpacks were assembled by Scouts and St. Matthew’s parishioners working side by side. But when they finished on that Friday evening, they realized they were short about eight refillable water bottles.
Chapin had his parents drive him to stores in Pacific Palisades to try and find additional bottles.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t afford the ones that were being sold in town – and even though his parents offered to pay for them, Chapin wouldn’t let them because he wanted to pay for them from his allowance. With help, he ordered them online and had them delivered that same day.
The next day, the water bottles went with Chapin downtown to St. John’s Cathedral. They were placed in backpacks and then he helped distribute them.
Chapin told Circling the News, “It felt really good to help kids my age. I could really relate to them with feeling good about having new school supplies for going back to school.
He added, “It’s sad to see that these kids don’t have one or both parents at home.”
One of the Scout fathers said, “It was a wonderful event and nice for the Scouts to do a hands-on community service during the summer break. It instilled a sense of gratitude and illustrates how fortunate we are.”