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Baptist program provides school supplies, uniforms

By By JULIE RUSSELL-The Brewton Standard
The most common memories of back-to-school time are freshly sharpened pencils, lined notebook paper and a new wardrobe that begs for cold weather. But for some children in the Brewton area, these items are not easily obtained without the help of some good-hearted people.
A program at First Baptist Church, called Pack-a-Backpack, is helping supply children with uniforms and supplies. Pack-a-Backpack is now in its third year, and an estimated 300 to 400 children have been helped with the money that has been donated, which amounts to about $700 to $1,000.
Donations are given in the form of money and/or school supplies. In the past, the money has gone mostly toward buying school uniforms, socks, shoes and undergarments for children in kindergarten through the sixth grade, as well as some students in high school.
There is so much need, in fact, that while the first year of the program focused mainly on getting donations of school supplies only, the second year called for an expansion. Gates began to extend the donations to children outside of the Brewton area and she also became involved with Vicki Fussell of Hope Place.
Fussell helps Gates target families in need, and she helps supply the sizes of the children so that school uniforms can be purchased. Each child is supplied with one pair of pants, one pair of shorts and two t-shirts in the school colors. Fussell finds children in need through direct contact with their families or school.
To spread good will year-round, Fussell is always looking for new project ideas to which Hope Place can contribute.
If you would like to make a contribution to Pack-a-Backpack, boxes are set up outside of the sanctuary to drop off donations. Donations will be taken through July 24.
If you need assistance in purchasing school supplies, call Hope Place at 867-4686 to see if you are eligible.