Group looks to help students in need

Published 2:00 am Saturday, July 6, 2013

The start of the new school year is still just over a month away, but one group is already working to make sure students get the supplies they need even when finances may be a family issue.
Wendell Ray, director of missions for the Escambia Baptist Association, said a group of workers are making arrangements to get enough supplies to fill backpacks for as many students as possible.
“The Association is a group of 35 churches in the county and we’re working to collect supplies for students across the county,” Ray said. “We recognized that for many families, purchasing school supplies is a tremendous financial burden. Our goal is to provide 600 backpacks filled with supplies to children in our local communities who need them.”
The project, “Supplying Students for Success,” will be an on-going project with plans to distribute the backpacks Aug. 10 — just in time for the start of the school year.
Ray’s daughter, Peggy, is joining in the project during her summer break from divinity school.
“The goal of this project is to connect with people and see how churches can pray for others,” Peggy said. “We want to build relationships and make connections with people.”
Peggy said the project actually has three goals along the way to providing needed school supplies for students.
“This is actually a three-fold project,” Peggy said. “This will help to meet physical and spiritual needs of recipients and it will get the church outside the doors to address those things in the community that need to be addressed — physically and spiritually.”
The project will consist of distribution of vouchers to those needing a backpack and supplies, collecting the needed supplies to fill the backpacks and final distribution of the filled backpacks, Ray said.
“We will be handing out vouchers to those who want to get a filled backpack in August,” Ray said. “By handing out vouchers, we will know exactly what the need is and how many backpacks to fill for area students.”
Vouchers will be distributed on July 9, 18, 20 and 29, Ray said.  Locations for voucher distribution will be at Zion Hill Baptist Church, First Baptist Church East Brewton and Alco Baptist Church in the Brewton area; Little Escambia Baptist Church and Liberty Baptist Church in the Flomaton area; and Brooks Memorial Baptist Church in Atmore.
“We will be holding a special collection event as well on July 13,” Ray said. “We will have a school bus set up at Walmart in Brewton as our ‘Pack the Bus’ event. We will have church volunteers on hand from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day to collect supplies.”
A special time has been arranged for packing the donated supplies into the backpacks on Tuesday, July 30 in Flomaton, Ray said. A special prayer over the backpacks will be held Aug. 4.
Ray said the supply and backpack distribution will be limited to elementary students. Supplies to be packed into the backpacks will include Fiskars scissors, 24-count packages of Crayola crayons; wide rule paper, No. 2 pencils, glue in stick and liquid forms, plastic pocket folders with prongs, pink erasers, Crayola washable markers, construction paper and composition book.
Backpacks will be distributed Aug. 10 at First Baptist Church in East Brewton, First Baptist Church of Flomaton and Brooks Memorial Baptist Church in Atmore from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Ray said.
For information on making a donation of supplies or financial contributions for the project, call the EBA offices in Flomaton at 296-4640.

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