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Church provides much needed school supplies and backpacks for students

By Staff | Aug 23, 2016

JADE HEASLEY/The Luminary   Volunteers from the First United Methodist Church of Montgomery prepare for the church's annual backpack giveaway. From left to right are Mavis Bosch, Carrie Bosch, Madison Burleigh, and Mary Tennant.  

MONTGOMERY – Thanks to the efforts of a lot of cheerful givers at Montgomery’s First United Methodist Church, nearly forty school students received new backpacks and school supplies on Saturday, August 20. For the last five years the church has reached out to local children in need by supplying them with brand new backpacks for school. This year, the church added a new twist by offering a generous array of school supplies as well.

The idea for the outreach began when members of the church wanted to do something to meet the needs of children in the community. They carefully considered what types of items would be most needed, and then contacted the school directly to ask their advice. The suggestion was backpacks. The church bought numerous backpacks and delivered them to the school so that they could be given to children who were in need of them.

The backpack outreach has been happening every year since, and as the event has grown, it has changed. In the first few years the backpacks were simply delivered to the school.

In 2015, they were handed out at the church’s Vacation Bible School program. This year, the doors of the church were opened and every child was welcome to choose their own brand new backpack and fill it with an assortment of school supplies of their own choosing. The church provided a selection that suited every age group from kindergarten to high school. Some of the backpacks featured glitter and bright colors to appeal to young children, and there was a generous selection of designer backpacks to appeal to older teenagers, as well as a variety of styles in between.

Once the students chose their own backpack they got to fill it with school supplies. The immense variety included almost everything imaginable, such as folders, notebooks in different sizes, pens, pencils, pencil pouches, a variety of erasers, pencil sharpeners, pens, crayons, highlighters, Post-it Notes, tape, glue sticks, scissors, markers, index cards, and more.

The generosity of the church members made the outreach possible. Mavis Bosch, a volunteer who helped to organize the event, said the outreach takes a few months of preparation. It begins by running an announcement in the bulletin asking church members to donate new school supplies which are collected during the summer months.

In a district where many students qualify for a free or reduced lunch, new backpacks and supplies are a welcome gift to the children who wouldn’t otherwise have them. Referring to the award-winning Montgomery School District, volunteer Carrie Bosch said, “The school supplies almost everything they need, but it’s always nice to go back to school with new stuff.” She further commented that the children were “overjoyed and very thankful.”

The congregation was so abundant in giving, that even after nearly forty children left the event, there were still some backpacks and school supplies remaining. The church invites any student who needs a backpack or some school supplies to call the First United Methodist Church at (570) 547-6948 and leave a message.

In addition to school supplies for students, the church has an ongoing outreach that will provide individuals with a voucher for ‘Nay’s Not Quite New’ thrift store located on Pinchtown Road in Montgomery. The voucher allows a person to fill one bag with clothing.