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Video: Is your church giving away school supplies?



KTHV in Little Rock, Ark., reports on a “Head of the Class Back to School Bash” sponsored by the Rose City Church of Christ (also known as the Lynch Drive Church of Christ) in North Little Rock, Ark.

The event was open to anybody who wanted to come and enjoy fellowship and pick up free school supplies specific to each grade. The event was free and all the supplies and hot dogs were donated. Also, students were able to get free hair cuts and styles, immunizations and nutritional information.
Preacher Chris Fifer says the event was a lot of hard work but it’s always good to help others.
“We just have a passion for kids and for families. And we know this neighborhood really needs all the encouragement that they can get. So, you know, we just enjoy it and this has been fun,” says Fifer.

See the full story.
The Spartanburg Herald Journal in South Carolina reports on a school supply giveaway by the Central Church of Christ.
It’s the ninth year the church has given away school supplies to students in its community, said minister Ernie Thigpen.

Recipients are gratified, and so are volunteers, Thigpen said.
Jesus Christ said you get more when you give than receive, Thigpen said, and the giveaway is a “delight” for volunteers and one of the highlights of the church year.

Students line up for supplies at a giveaway sponsored by the South MacArthur Church of Christ in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Read the full story.
Many Churches of Christ across the country sponsor similar events. (I shot photos at a school supply giveaway years ago at the South MacArthur Church of Christ in Irving, Texas.)
Does your church sponsor a back-to-school giveaway? If so, how the community responded? How do you get the supplies (donations by church members or partnership with local retailers)? Have these events proved to be a valuable tool for evangelism? How so?
Also, please e-mail me photos of your church’s most recent giveaway.

 

  • Feedback
    This is not to criticize the practice of helping the poor, but I would recommend that any congregation that is looking to help the poor should charge a small price or fee for the supplies (school supplies here) that they are giving away. Studies and practical experience will show that supplies that are purchased (even with a small fee) will be better used, better taken care of, and will go to the right people. This fee isn’t to make a profit, but could be reinvested in more supplies to sell at the reduced price.
    Michael
    August, 15 2011

    We have provided school supplies and backpacks for the last 4 years at Prestoncrest Church of Christ in Dallas, TX.
    Chris
    August, 15 2011

    The Conejo Valley Church of Christ has a school supply drive every August. However, we don’t distribute the supplies directly to families. We get a list of needs from a specific elementary school a few blocks from our church building, collect those supplies, and give the supplies directly to the school. In the spring we have a work day on the grounds of the same school, doing cleaning, repair, whatever needs to be done. We also have a weekly tutoring program for students from that school during the academic year.
    Chris Heard
    August, 15 2011

    Our congregation, Newnan Church of Christ in Newnan, GA, has “adopted” Ruth Hill Elementary, a school with a large percentage of underprivileged children. We simply collect school supplies from our members, based on a list of needed items supplied by the school, and drop them by Ruth Hill the week before the school year starts. The principal and teachers are very appreciative, but we do not have direct contact with the families of the children.
    Janice Enlow
    August, 15 2011

    We gave away school supplies to 98 children on Saturday. Everything from pencils, paper and pens to colors. We have supplies to give to an additional 45 children as well. This is our 3rd year to hold our back to school drive at the Overland Church of Christ in Overland, Missouri.
    Darren
    August, 15 2011

    Alameda Church of Christ hosted its 7th Annual Back to School Roundup on August 6, 2011. We always have a great response from the community. There were over 1,200 in attendance. The event is free and open to Norman and surrounding communities. We gave out 720 backpacks filled with school supplies, provided haircuts to 53 students and provided lunch for everyone. We have an information fair with local social service agencies and a local magician provides entertainment for the families.
    Alameda members provided the funds to purchase the majority of the supplies. Some supplies are donated by the community. The Back to School Roundup provides an excellent outreach tool. Each family completes a registration card and the contact information is used to invite families to worship, VBS and other events at Alameda.
    John Helton
    August, 15 2011

    I see little evangelism in this ministry; it is benevolence. It should be evangelistic. This year for the first time, Sunset, Lubbock, included a copy of the Jesus film [sinner’s prayer deleted] for adults and children in the backpacks.
    ken hargesheimer
    August, 16 2011

    The Cary church of Christ in Cary, NC gives to our members and to those in the community with need. We have packed backpacks with goodies for kids in neighboring communities with the message of Christ all over it and in it. First you have to reach them, then teach them. Much good has come out of this ministry.
    Christian Mom
    August, 16 2011

    College Church of Christ in Searcy, Arkansas, gave away nearly 1,100 backpacks and school supplies last Wednesday night.
    Jay
    August, 16 2011

    I can supply the Jesus film for children. Also, a wonderful website to give them is www.childrensbiblestudy.com I could put them on one dvd just to use in this benevolent ministry. God instructs us to Sow The Seed. The church of Christ in America is dying. We must Sow in order to REAP.
    ken hargesheimer
    August, 16 2011

    This was our (Woodmont Hills church of Christ)23rd year to provide back to school supplies to children and schools in Nashville and the Middle Tenn.area. The supplies go to some of our own chilren, referrals made to us by our members and community organiztions. MOST of the the supplies are delivered to schools to be distributed by teachers,guidance counselors, principals and other school personnel. Through the years, we have found that many children don’t need all the supplies that we include. By going through the schools, we believe that more supplies get to the children as they need them. We also emphasize being a resource for the teachers that are part of the family at Woodmont- we currently have 12 teachers that we are working with. They are “frontline” day in day out and we are committed to be a support for them as schol begins and throughout the year. This year, we will serve 18 schools and countless children.
    joan gregory
    August, 17 2011

    We’ve given away school supplies for the past several years. We collect generic items from the congregation and assemble packages geared for elementary, middle school, high school, etc. We don’t do it for the whole community, but through relationships and connections we have with families in the community. It makes it a) more manageable for us, and b) more personal.
    John Palmer
    August, 19 2011

    I forgot to mention…it is the Griffin Road church in Ft. Lauderdale!
    John Palmer
    August, 19 2011

    The Wyoming Avenue Church of Christ (Detroit, MI) distributed over 300 backpacks & over 200 bags of groceries on 8/20/11. We did this in conjunction with the Livonia Church of Christ during the area-wide “Love in Action” event. We played acapella music and provided literature about the church (and the event)in each bag of food.
    Monique M. White
    August, 21 2011

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