Despite the qualms many students may have with summer drawing to a close and a new school year right around the corner, getting new supplies is something any kid can get excited about.
For those whose families may have some difficulty purchasing these supplies, St. John’s UCC of Boalsburg stepped up to help those in need. For the second year in a row, the church asked for school supplies and backpacks to be given to students in the community.
“I was amazed (at the turnout),” church member Mary Hutchinson said. “I was amazed at how many supplies they gathered, and they went over the goal.”
Donations of everything from pens to glue sticks poured in from the congregation and the commuity, Pastor Monica Ouellette said, including the packs themselves. Drawstring bags were donated by Office Depot.
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The goal this year was to fill 25 backpacks, she said. By the time the packs were filled Sunday, the church was able to reach so much more than that.
“We were shooting for 25, and we ended up with 43,” church member Hollie Woodle said. “It’s pretty amazing how much it multiplies.”
Many in the congregation stepped up to help fill the packs Sunday, she said, as well as a few members of the community who didn’t attend the church. Packs were filled according to grade: preschool through first, second through sixth and seventh through 12th.
“We have enough of everything and more than enough of a few things,” Ouellette said, saying older students received items like notebooks and index cards, while younger kids got crayons and markers.
The youth of the congregation also provided input on what they needed, she said, saying items like tissues and hand sanitizer would be appreciated, but rulers are generally not often needed.
As a bonus, she said, a pack of Goldfish crackers and fruit snacks were included in each pack.
Offering the backpacks was inspired by a desire to reach out to the community, she said, saying, “Last year we got a lot of comments that it’s so expensive to buy these school supplies.
“We wanted to do it again and do a few more this year,” she said, “just as a way to reach out into the community.”
Matthew Mantie, 9, said he helped fill packs as well and is looking forward to getting one of his own. His sister Lily, 6, said she liked getting drawing supplies like markers and pens.
The backpacks will be given away Aug. 16 during the church’s community picnic, Ouellette said, which is scheduled to begin at noon.