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Plenty line up for school supplies at Zeta Phi Beta sorority in East Spencer

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
EAST SPENCER ó The Zeta Phi Beta sorority gave away thousands of dollars worth of school supplies, shoes and clothes Saturday.
Emma Hunter couldn’t be happier. The 62-year-old retired nurse is already poised to hit Wal-Marts from here to Roanoke, Va., to stock up for next year.
She heads up the community service program for the sorority, which staged its fourth giveaway Saturday at its house at 1315 Short St.
“We had people from all over, from Granite Quarry, Mocksville. We had a very diverse group, all races,” Hunter said. The sorority members ask only that parents bring their children.
The giveaway was scheduled to start at 1:30, but with cars parked for several blocks and families standing in line, they opened the doors early.
To make sure children got the supplies they needed, Barbara Neely spent most of Friday bagging supplies by grades as recommended by the Rowan-Salisbury Schools.
Sorority members get donations and do fundraisers to pay for the supplies.
Students were brought in a few at at time with their parents to get supplies and pick out clothing.
Some stood for an hour or more waiting to get in. But Hunter made sure they had bottles of cold water to ease the heat.
Sorority members said everybody was looking for clothes to match uniforms adopted at the various schools.
A total of 242 children got supplies Saturday at the giveaway.
Renee Smith, a mother of four who recently moved from Kannapolis to East Spencer, was among those picking up supplies. “This helps out a lot,” Smith said.
In addition to the supplies given out at the sorority house, the 36-member sorority is providing a large box of supplies to Koontz Elementary School.
Hunter dropped off supplies at the Women’s Shelter. And with her husband, Bernard, she made a home delivery to a woman who called to say her car broke down and she couldn’t get there.
“She had three children. She had nothing for them,” Hunter said.
Being able to help families is all the reward Hunter and the sorority members need. “A lot of people say ‘Thank you,’ some say “God Bless You.’ ”
Having retired from Rowan Regional Medical Center earlier this year, Hunter now has more time to work on her vision ó a community- wide school supply giveaway at the Civic Center ó a giveaway that would bring together all the churches, civic clubs, sororities and fraternities.
“I’m so glad the Lord has given me the right mind that I can do this. I feel like I’m giving myself back.
“It’s something everybody can help with, help see that children have a good start in school.”
If you would like to make a donation or help with next year’s giveaway, you may contact Hunter at 704-213-3540 on her cell phone.
She likely will be checking out stores looking for bargains.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.

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