Carbondale Church Needs Help Collecting School Supplies


By Evie Allen

CARBONDALE -- Hopewell Missionary Baptist is holding its annual back to school bash next month.

While many kids are focused on summer activities, the church and the center are getting ready for the first day of school.

For over a decade the church has held a back to school giveaway for students.

"Supplies are expensive. Backpacks are expensive. And so for us to be able lend this helping hand and to help families, is definitely a blessing for us to be able to do it," says Pastor Christopher Swims.

Swims says last year was their biggest yet. They collected 500 backpacks through donations. This year they hope to more than triple that by collecting 2,000 backpacks. The church has collaborated with the Women's Center for what they're calling a Day of Peace, with hopes to reach more families.

"Instead of doing two back to school events in the same city, the same day, we're just doing one," he explains.

But with three weeks until the giveaway, the groups are in need of more help.

"We want to reach that goal. We want to give out as many backpacks as possible," says coordinator Chaise Miller.

Miller has helped plan the event for the past three years. He says they need pencils, paper, rulers, backpacks and other materials for kindergarten through high school students. He believes school success is determined by the amount of confidence each child has.     

"A lot of times with children, often grades can dip. They can lose their confidence because they don't have the proper tools. And so we want to make sure that they have those tools," says Miller.

The giveaway event will also include games and food, plus dental and health experts available, all free.

Miller says seeing the looks on the kids faces and knowing parents won't have to worry, is what it's all about.

"It's one of those things where, yeah it's special to them and they think that they're having the greatest time but ultimately you feel the greatest joy and the greatest reward," says Miller.

The big giveaway day will be August 2nd from 1-4 pm. To help, you can call the church at (618) 529-3975 or their webiste here.

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