Hundreds turn out for free supplies

By Brandon Evans | Published Thursday, August 12, 2010
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Understanding the level of need in Wise County, Decatur Church of Christ held a massive school supply giveaway Sunday.

“This is just a community event,” said youth and family minister Jacob Baker. “We’re trying to meet the basic needs of people in the community. We’re giving out backpacks with basic school supplies for students in K through sixth.”

In addition, a team of nine hairstylists gave free haircuts to kids. Elsewhere doctors gave immunizations and dentists checked teeth.

A massive clothing store was also set up, giving children three outfits each to start the new school year.

This was the second year of the event. Last year, they only prepared for several hundred children. They were quickly overwhelmed. This year, they gathered enough backpacks and supplies for 1,000 young students. They cooked 3,000 hot dogs for the host of visitors.

The halls of the church bustled with as much activity as the first day of school at a large campus.

“I think it opens the eyes of our church members to the needs of those around us, to see the needs of people in Wise County,” said minister Rick Ross. “Hopefully it encourages people to give more to WARM and other ministries in our county.”

“This is a tough time in our economy,” Baker said. “You’re always blown away at the need you see when you do something like this.”

“This is what Christianity is all about, reaching out to the people,” said church elder Mike McDowell. “This is an exciting time. Well over half of our church membership volunteered.”

The operation took a veritable army to orchestrate. Approximately 300 volunteers helped.

“I believe our volunteers get as much benefit out of this as the people who come in need,” Ross said.

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