A local church helped close to 800 students get ready for school Saturday.
College Hills Church of Christ’s School Store gave school supplies to 300 Wilson County families in its 19th year offering the service.
According to Annabelle Robinson, an organizer for the event, attendance was down this year.
“We didn’t have as many to show up [as last year],” said Robinson. “Last year we had 1,100 students.”
She attributed this year’s decrease to other organizations offering similar services.
Robinson said College Hills Church of Christ’s program began 19 years ago.
“Some of the elders and our preaching minister, Larry Locke, invited my husband and I to go to Memphis to see a program that a church in Memphis was doing with inner-city kids,” said Annabelle Robinson. “So we jumped in that first year. We had about 200 people show up.”
Since then, the program has continued to grow.
“This is entirely supported by our church members,” said Robinson. “The money comes from them, and they are very generous.”
Aside from monetary donations, church members pick “apples” from the “Apple Tree.” The “Apple Tree” is a similar concept to “Angel Trees” one would see around Christmas, except the apples contain school supply items.
Robinson said parents let their young children pick “apples” from the tree to help them get into the habit of buying for others.
The School Store also receives items from Healing Hands, International, whose founder is a church member.
“When they get things appropriate for us, they share with us,” said Robinson.
The School Store provides items based on the student’s age, and items can include a backpack, first- and second-grade tablets, notebook paper, spiral notebooks, construction paper, folders, pencils, erasers, crayons, classic markers, colored pencils, glue, glue sticks, scissors and rulers. Some school clothing is also available.
“We’ve already started thinking about next year,” said Robinson. “Every time we finish one, we say, ‘Hey gang, do you have any ideas for how we can improve for next year?’
“We just have a wonderful time doing this. We have a lot of happy moms and dads and children that day,” said Robinson. “We know how important it is for that child to feel good when they walk into school.”
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