Kids to benefit from FaithCentre back-to-school initiative

It’s the time of year that local organizations give back to the community that usually gives to them.

Take, for instance, at least two Verizon retail stores — one at the Nittany Mall and the other in Bellefonte — that participated in a national initiative that gave away free backpacks full of school supplies to school-aged students.

Or The Salvation Army of Centre County that is giving away clothes and school supplies to eligible youth in the area.

This time, the FaithCentre thrift store is opening its doors from Aug. 15-20 for youth in kindergarten to 12th grade to get three free outfits and one pair of shoes before school starts at the end of the month.

Thrift store manager Donna Spicer said it includes three pair of pants to go with three tops, or a dress.

The only requirements, besides age, are that the child be present with an adult.

“We’ve been blessed by this community for their donations and want to bless those kids with some outfits,” Spicer said. “Not all families can afford to get things like a new pair of Hollister jeans, but there is the opportunity here.”

Spicer said the program started about four years ago when the FaithCentre gave away gift certificates to those who participated in the blessing of the backpacks.

Last year, the program was enhanced by opening up the Bellefonte facility for youth to pick outfits.

“I don’t think many people knew about the things we did with blessing of the backpacks, so we wanted to find a way to still give back by blessing kids with back-to-school clothes they need in a different way,” Spicer said.

Last year, more than $4,000 worth of apparel was given away.

This year, Spicer anticipates that number will grow to $6,000.

“I’m anticipating a large turnout because the people who came last year will probably come back and tell all their friends,” she said.

To prepare for the potentially large outcome, five or six extra clothing racks will be on display.

The thrift store also gives incentives to students who get an A on their report card.

Spicer said for every A, $10 worth of items is given to the student.

All the student must do to be eligible is present someone at the FaithCentre with his or her report card.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo


What: Back-to-school clothing donation to students in kindergarten through 12th grade

When: Aug. 15-20

Where: FaithCentre, 110 W. High St., Bellefonte

Info: 355-0880,