Carbondale church hands out 1,000 backpacks - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Carbondale church hands out 1,000 backpacks

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CARBONDALE, Ill. -- For a decade, the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church has been collecting school supplies for families in Carbondale and giving them out right before school starts.  

Pastor Christopher Swims said the event has grown each year.

"But we saw there was a great need in the community so we've doing it community-wide ever since then," Swims said. :But this year is history because this is the first time that we've been able to give out 1,000 backpacks."

Swims said he and other organizers typically just gather what they can and give that away, but he set out to gather 1,000 backpacks this year.

He reached that goal a couple weeks ago.

"It's just been a huge community effort," Swims said.

The Carbondale Police and Fire Departments helped out, along with several businesses and community groups.

"We want to get the kids ready for a fresh school year. We want to have them ready. That way, they have everything they need," Swims said. "Everything here is free."

And he says that's important because school supplies can get expensive.

"The average cost of a backpack is $40," Swims said. "If you have multiple children, you start adding supplies that are in there, it can get very costly."

And now that they've given out supplies for this year, the work starts on next year's supply giveaway.

Anyone interested in helping the church should call (618) 529-3975.

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