Stacks of Backpacks Help Cozumel Youth Attend School—July 29, 2017

People arrived early and waited patiently for school supplies.

Outside of the Parke DIF’s beautiful senior center facility, people patiently stood in line with their children. They were waiting for an opportunity to acquire school supplies required for their children to attend school.


Each school has a specialized list of personal learning materials, athletic shoes, school uniform and basic classroom supplies that students must supply. The backpack, paper, notebooks, folders, pencils and pens, erasers, sharpener, ruler, calculator, crayons, highlighters and markers, scissors, correction fluid and geometry sets would cost some families with limited resources a week or even a month’s salary. Multiply that financial hardship by the number of children in the family and a difficult situation becomes an impossible one. That’s why Friends of Cozumel began to offer help nearly 10 yeas ago.


Prior to the 2017 mission week, hundreds of families met with Friends of Cozumel coordinators to review their financial need and register for assistance. What started as a modest program to help a few children, has now grown to the biggest school supply distribution ever attempted by FOC. This summer 495 children are registered. Stacks of donated backpacks and other supplies were ready for them—thanks to the generosity of so many supporters.

Larry (left) and Braylon check out the supplies of backpacks.


“This is bigger than we ever dreamed of, and that’s a serious challenge,” said Byron, a long-time volunteer. “We have a tendency to put limits on what we can accomplish, but we can do anything through God.”


A group of divers with the Worldwide Christian Scuba Diver Organization joined other FOC volunteers to help get the right supplies into the hands of primary, secondary, high school and university students.


“It’s gratifying to see the excitement generated here,” said Steve from Minnesota.


“It breaks my heart to remember how much paper I wasted in high school,” said Deborah from Texas. “These kids have to make a couple of notebooks last the entire year. This is why we come—to help where we can.”

Deborah (left) enjoyed her experience as a first-time FOC volunteer.


After this summer’s distribution, the stacks of backpacks and supplies will be depleted. There are three ways you can help:

1. Shop the U.S. school supplies sales going on right now. Click here to see a list of needed supplies.

2. Click here to learn how to make a monetary donation.

3. Contact us about bringing donations in your checked luggage on your next visit to the island. We can let you know how cruise ship passengers can help, too. Visit our Facebook page or send an email to Larry at:


Thank you. Your help will create lots of smiles.

~ Phyllis from Nebraska


These girls are thrilled that they have the necessary supplies to attend school.

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