- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—Spiral notebooks, pens and pencils, binders, markers, notebook paper, calculators and of course new clothes are just a few things on a long list of school supplies students need to begin a new school year. Depending on what else a student needs, these supplies begin to add up.

The Huffington Post reported in a 2013 article that parents with children in grades K-12 spent on average a whopping $26.7 billion on school supplies alone during that year.

To help families acquire the much needed school supplies for their child, without breaking the bank, two Huntsville organizations are hosting events to do just that.

The Community Praise Ministry will be hosting its 10th annual Community School Supply Giveaway on Aug. 8 from 10 a.m. to noon inside the small gym at Huntsville High School.

“One of the reasons I started doing the giveaway was there were so many parents that would come in on the first day of school and they did not have school supplies,” Vanetta Mills, founder and president of Community Praise Ministry, said. “They made an inquiry about wanting to get supplies for their child and I really don’t think a child should be in a situation where they don’t have what they need to start school. They should have everything that they need and be excited about starting school, so that’s one of the reasons why it was started so the children can walk into school just like any other child, have what they need and start the school year off successful.”

The event is free and open to the community and will include over 1,000 backpacks to giveaway that are filled with school supplies for students. It will also feature food, crafts and a few various local vendors who will be giving out back-to-school gifts to students who attend the event.

Students must be present at the event and accompanied by an adult in order to receive a backpack, Mills said.

“We will have school supplies for students Pre-K through teens, and they can walk up to their grade level and get the supplies that they need,” Mills said.

In preparation for the giveaway, Mills and rest of her team will be hosting their annual “Stuff the Bus” event to help gather donations on Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. outside the Wal-Mart parking lot, and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. She says both school supplies and monetary donations are welcomed.

For more information, contact Mills at (936) 355-2296.

First Baptist Church will also be hosting its first “Back to School Bash” on Aug. 19 at 1229 Avenue J.

“We’re really doing this for anybody who wants to save some money,” Erica Kuhlman, education secretary, said. “When it comes to getting school supplies we all know how expensive getting a bunch of school supplies can be, so this is just an outreach to the community around us and it’s really for whoever. This is the first year we’re having this and we would really like to make this an annual thing.”

The event is also free and open to the public and includes hot dogs, a waterslide, a jump house, snow cone machines and much more for event-goers to enjoy. They will also be giving away 400 backpacks stuffed with school supplies, including markers, pens, glue, folders and more that were all donated by students from the church’s Sunday school classes.

“We still haven’t gone out and purchased the backpacks yet because we wanted to see how much of the school supplies we can receive,” Kuhlman said. “We’re taking donations for backpacks and 400 is our goal, but if we can reach past that goal that would be absolutely wonderful.”

Citizens interested in donating can drop off their supplies at First Baptist Church. Kuhlman says the goal is to help the community around them during what can be a stressful time for both parents and students.

“They can come here and get some awesome free school supplies and they can use that money elsewhere, whether they need it toward new school clothes or bills or whatever it might be,” Kuhlman said. “This is just an outreach to our community around us and it’s going to help relieve some stress for them at the beginning of the school year and that’s what our goal is here in Huntsville is to outreach to our community around us and help in anyway that we can.”

For more information about First Baptist Church’s Back To School Bash, contact Judy Hope at (936) 291-3441 or by email at [email protected]


(c)2015 The Huntsville Item (Huntsville, Texas)

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