Groups help with school supplies

Published 9:58 pm Friday, August 14, 2015

Judy and Phil Saunders are spearheading the collection of back-to-school supplies, including backpacks, for West End Baptist Church. The items will be handed out during an event on Aug. 29.

Judy and Phil Saunders are spearheading the collection of back-to-school supplies, including backpacks, for West End Baptist Church. The items will be handed out during an event on Aug. 29.

By Henry Luzzatto


Kids might not want to hear it, but it’s true: Summer is coming to an end, and school is nearly ready to begin.

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With the start of school come multiple outreach programs from charitable organizations and churches to provide students with the tools they need to succeed.

Little Mount Zion Baptist Church will have its third annual Car Show School Supply Giveaway on Aug. 22. Minister Terry Burnett, the event’s coordinator, says the car show is a good chance to have fun while helping the community.

“A lot of car enthusiasts enjoy showing off their cars, and they really go all out for the kids,” Burnett said.

At the event, the church will give away 100 backpacks filled with school supplies. Children who show up with their parents can fill out an information form and take home a backpack.

“It’s just something we came up with to make a difference,” Burnett said.

The event will also feature activities for the children, and the proceeds of the car show will go to buying more school supplies, Burnett said. On Aug. 23, Little Mount Zion’s pastor, Horce L. Bazemore, will present two winning students with $500 scholarships, Burnett said.

“We just want people to know that we’re in the community and we’re there for them,” Burnett said.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Little Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Though Little Mount Zion’s car show is unique, it is not the only church giving away backpacks full of school supplies.

The Mission Outreach Team of West End Baptist Church will have its Backpacks for Success event from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 29.

During this event, the church will give away over 100 backpacks full of school supplies to elementary school students on a first come, first served basis.

“If children can get assistance, they’ll feel happy and confident, and they’ll do better,” Judy Saunders said.

Phil Saunders, chairman of the School Supply Assistance Program, said this event is the first of many outreach programs West End is planning on doing this year.

“We’re looking at the community and meeting the community needs,” he said. The backpacks will be filled with school supplies, as well as a church flier and a Bible verse.

“We want to give back to the community,” Phil Saunders said. “This is what Jesus would want us to do, and where better to start than with young children?”

The event will be held at West End Baptist Church at the corner of St. James and W. Washington streets.

While churches show their generosity, other charitable organizations are hosting their own giveaways.

Partner to Serve, a coalition of fraternal and sororal organizations located in Suffolk, will give away backpacks full of school supplies to the administrators of five different Suffolk schools for them to distribute to children in need.

Robin Whitley, the social action chairperson of Delta Sigma Theta Inc.’s Suffolk chapter and one of the event’s coordinators, said this is Partner to Serve’s first event together.

Partner to Serve is made up of four Greek-letter organizations, which have joined to help the community, Whitley said.

“There’s more strength in numbers,” Whitley said. “Collectively we’re able to do a lot more to serve the community.”

Partner to Serve will distribute 150 backpacks to the administrators of Booker T. Washington Elementary School, Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, Hillpoint Elementary School, Mack Benn Elementary School and John F. Kennedy Middle School.

“The bookbags are given to administrators so that kids who are not prepared or are without school supplies can get them,” Whitley said.

The event is not open for the public.

The Salvation Army, host of Partner to Serve’s event, is currently in the middle of collecting donations for a school supply giveaway. The Salvation Army’s Women’s Ministry Group is accepting donations until Aug. 20.

Donations can be dropped off at the Salvation Army Corps and Community Center Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Starting Aug. 31, the Salvation Army’s Women’s Ministry will begin giving away backpacks filled with school supplies. Backpacks can be picked up Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 3 p.m.

Esha Chaulk, the event’s coordinator, said she hopes to match the total of 160 backpacks given away last year.

ForKids, a nonprofit organization that helps homeless and underserved children in the Hampton Roads area, is also hosting a back-to-school drive. Donations can be brought to Good Mojo Thrift Store, 2411 Granby St., Norfolk during business hours until Aug. 28.

“Families living in poverty have no space in their household budgets for school supplies. But every child needs to have a strong start to the school year with all of the supplies they need to succeed” said Thaler McCormick, CEO of ForKids.

Genevieve Williams, marketing and communications specialist for ForKids, said donations from the community allow ForKids to help homeless and underserved students throughout the year. ForKids hopes to donate school supplies to over 1,000 children across Hampton Roads this year.

For more information about ForKids’ Back to School Drive, contact Rachel Newnam at or 757-622-6400 ext. 113.