Salvation Army, local church hand out school supplies to students

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 22, 2011

By Hugh Fisher
SALISBURY — Scott Meade took the microphone Sunday at Kidsports with over 100 kids and their family members gathered around him.
“You know what you get to do this week?” Meade said. “Go back to school!”
There was silence for a moment, then a chorus of groans and boos from the kids, which was immediately drowned out by applause and cheers from the grown-ups around them.
That joyful spirit is what Salvation Army Captain Jason Smith said Sunday’s back to school celebration was meant to bring to kids and families who had been identified as most in need of assistance at back-to-school time.
“Just because they live in poverty doesn’t mean that they have to live it every single moment,” Smith said.
Heartsong Church and the Salvation Army gathered at Kidsports on South Main Street to distribute over 100 backpacks, school supplies and food packages.
Many, Smith said, come from families who already receive assistance from the Salvation Army.
Face painting and games helped entertain the youngsters.
And Tracy Crotts, member of Heartsong Church, brought her trained dogs for a demonstration of obedience and agility.
She brought smiles to faces as she walked through the gym with Nexus, her collie who is a trained therapy dog.
Opal Boyd of Salisbury brought her three grandchildren, whom she raises.
“I just think it’s wonderful,” Boyd said.
In addition to school supplies, kids could win prizes like lollipops and small toys.
Boyd’s granddaughter Haley, 7, said she was ready to go back to school. She’ll be in second grade this year.
“I’m excited because if I keep on getting good grades, I’ll get funner and funner field trips,” she said.
Linda Deyo brought her grandson, Javon White.
He played a football game — throwing a beanbag through a target shaped like a football player catching a pass — and won school scissors, some candy and a bottle of bubbles.
Asked if he was ready to go back to school, White said, “Yeah, pretty much.”
Math is his favorite subject.
And Deyo said she was thankful for the Salvation Army’s support.
In addition to paper, pencils, backpacks and art supplies, there were USB disk drives for older students taking computer classes.
The food packages contained easy-to-prepare meals that kids and families could use as needed.
The back-to-school party comes at a time of great need, not just for parents, but for the Salvation Army itself, Smith said.
The local congregation’s food pantry is at critical levels as more people than ever are in need of assistance, he said.
Meanwhile, church members said they were glad to be able to make a difference.
Tom Teichroew, pastor of Heartsong Church, said his congregation partnered with the Salvation Army to increase the impact of the event.
“We have a heart for this city,” Teichroew said.
“We want them to know the body of Christ cares for them, that they’re not off our radar,” he said.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.