The fall season signals the return to school—both in the U.S. and in Eurasia!

The thought of a new school year brings joy to some and dread for others. Parents feel rising stress as the cost of school supplies quickly adds up.

But in Lithuania, children face a different kind of stress. For them, buying school supplies is an impossible dream.

They worry more about daily life than they do about learning.

For 50 years, Lithuania was part of the Soviet Union. When it declared its independence in 1989, it was left with a struggling economy and a sense of hopelessness. Since then the economy has made small gains, but the search for peace and fulfillment among the population continues. The spiritual vacuum of communism has left an indelible mark on hearts and homes nationwide.

Lithuania ranks among the world leaders in both suicides and alcoholism.

As with most social issues, the young and vulnerable suffer most. When families become dysfunctional, children are left to fend for themselves or take on responsibilities too complex for them to handle. For these children, preparing to go back to school is just one more pressure in an already overwhelming life.

But that’s where you can make a difference!

Kidz Lithuania is a children’s evangelism ministry focused on sharing the love of Christ with Lithuania’s boys and girls. One of its outreaches, called the Full of Life project, involves sharing the gospel and giving backpacks to needy children living in villages and orphanages. These one-of-a-kind backpacks are filled with school supplies and hygiene items, such as soap, a toothbrush, and toothpaste.

Preparations are underway to give away 500 filled backpacks between now and the end of the year. Each bag costs $20 to produce and stock with needed items.

In light of the cost of school supplies in the U.S., $20 doesn’t seem like much. But to a child in Lithuania, the Full of Life backpack is a treasure.

Several of these giveaways have taken place, and they are a huge success!

Leaders of the Full of Life project have discovered that the backpacks often become part of the children’s everyday lives. And since backpacks are designed with the ministry’s logo and safety reflectors, they serve as a constant reminder to the children that God’s people care about them.

As an added benefit, the backpacks are created and filled by men and women from Lithuania’s Teen Challenge programs. This opportunity helps the Teen Challenge students discover their untapped talents and learn the joy of service. The Teen Challenge students also are involved in the distributions, allowing them to see the benefit of their ministry firsthand.

The Full of Life project is an investment that brings a double blessing! Needy children receive help from men and women who are finding deliverance from the same kind of circumstances many of these children face!

Some of the backpacks will be used at Christmas outreaches. In addition to school supplies and hygiene items, these backpacks will include candy and a small toy.

During last year’s Christmas distributions, leaders were surprised as they watched the children receive their backpacks. As the boys and girls examined the items included inside, one specific item invariably caused the greatest rejoicing. It wasn’t the toy or the candy. It was the toothbrush. Such a small investment brought such great joy.

Your gift of $20 can provide a backpack filled with supplies—and a heart filled with knowing that Jesus cares—for a child in Lithuania. It will also open a door for Kidz Lithuania and Teen Challenge to tell children about the One who gave His life for them. Please supply as many backpacks—and open doors— as you can.

Thank you in advance for letting a child in Lithuania know you care.

P.S. Last year 125 backpacks were donated to Lithuania’s Special Olympics team. Later the Special Olympics director reported, “It was an amazing feeling to give away the backpacks and see the children’s eyes shining with excitement. Each child felt rewarded and valued. The backpacks brought much happiness into their lives.”

For only $20, you can bring happiness and a message of Jesus to a child in Lithuania. Five hundred backpacks are needed to meet the current need. Please provide as many backpacks as you can.