Church gives school supplies to kids

This weekend, a Center Grove area church helped make sure local children were ready for the start of school.

Mount Pleasant Christian Church gave out backpacks and school supplies to about 850 students in the Center Grove area and Indianapolis, as part of a program to ensure that students have all the tools they need to have a successful school year, said Heidi Wright, who is coordinating the outreach program.

The program was started after families coming to the church good pantry asked about any help available to get school supplies.

As a parent, Wright has seen how the amount of supplies schools want families to buy has increased over the years. That means an increased burden on families who may not have that additional money to spend, Wright said.

“It is a big deal when a student shows up with nothing,” she said. “That has a significant impact on a child. If we can help brighten the beginning of the school year, where they are ready to learn and have what they need to learn, we hope that will encourage them to be good students.”

With classes at some schools beginning as early as Monday, the church wanted to make sure students are as prepared as they can be for their first day of classes, Wright said.

“It is exciting and thrilling to see their eyes open up as they unzip the backpack and look at the items inside,” she said.

About 350 of the students receiving the backpacks and school supplies are from families that receive assistance from the church’s food pantry. Those students, whose families registered for assistance in the spring, will also each get a pair of athletic shoes as well. Orangetheory Fitness, of Greenwood, donated 100 pairs of shoes help, Wright said.

The remaining 500 backpacks the church is giving out will be to families in Center Grove area and southside neighborhoods, Burmese refugees and families getting assistance through Stripped Free, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that offers help to women who work in strip clubs, Wright said.

Church members purchased backpacks and supplies and donated money so that items could be purchased in bulk, Wright said.

The backpacks, which will be given to students from kindergarten through high school, will be filled with age-appropriate supplies, such as glue sticks and colored pencils for younger students, and binders, notebooks and scientific calculators for high school students, Wright said.