Church donates school supplies

Published 6:26 pm Thursday, September 16, 2021

After an unusual year, a Suffolk church resumed its annual back to school donations.

West End Baptist Church donates school supplies at the beginning of each school year. The church has done this in many ways, including giving the supplies to ForKids, donating supplies to the school and having a backpack giveaway at the church.

This year, at the suggestion of a member, the church wanted to do something different than in the past for this year’s donation. Judy Saunders, the organizer of the donation, came up with the idea of adopting a teacher to give supplies and monetary donations directly.

“Our church is very dedicated to our community and dedicated to the schools in Suffolk,” said the Rev. Dale Peterson, pastor of West End Baptist Church. “It was a great idea to adopt a teacher to put a face to the supply and monetary collection. She can deliver the supplies in a personal way where she sees the need.”

The church chose Caren Bueshi at Elephant’s Fork Elementary, who had previously taught with Saunders. Bueshi is the school’s Title I reading specialist. She sits with students struggling with reading to give them extra help so they can catch up with their peers.

“It was our pleasure to adopt Caren Bueshi as our adopted teacher,” said Saunders. “She’s very deserving, and we wanted to acknowledge her efforts and the positive difference she is making in the lives of so many children. Reading and books are fundamental to a child’s language development. Caren gives these children the greatest gift of all — the ability to read.”

With these supplies, Bueshi plans to set up a store where students can earn tickets for being engaged and well-behaved to trade in for the supplies. This will give the students pride in earning while also highlighting and rewarding positive behavior.

“I’m looking forward to implementing the store for students to earn and spend their earned tickets,” said Bueshi. “This will also teach them life skills like saving and spending as well as delayed gratification.”

According to the school’s principal, Dana Cherry Bilby, this goes along with one of Suffolk Public School’s goals of building relationships in the community. It is acts like this from those in the community who may not have any ties to the schools personally that show educators in Suffolk that their community cares and supports them.

“It’s all about relationships,” said Bilby.

With the success of this year, West End Baptist looks forward to adopting other teachers in the years to come.