Church collecting ‘Backpacks for Columbia’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 10, 2015

Staff report

When families lose everything in a flood, school supplies aren’t high on their list of survival needs.

But children need paper, pencils and other materials just the same, and a local pastor is hoping the people of Salisbury will help provide them.

Dr. Jim Dunkin of First Presbyterian Church reached out this week to friends Susannah and John Cook in Columbia, S.C. Susannah and Jim worked together at a church in Oklahoma years ago. Her husband, John, campus pastor at Shandon Presbyterian Church in Columbia, grew up in Salisbury, the son of Bob and Sara Cook.

When Jim called to see how the people in Salisbury could help, Susannah was on her way to her son’s school, where she serves on a committee to assess the needs of families after the flood.

“Susannah said at first they were overwhelmed by the response from communities far and wide,” Dunkin said. But as they talked, he said, she got an idea. She had heard about the Salisbury church’s effort to help local  school children, she said. First Presbyterian provided  81 backpacks for students in need at Overton Elementary School at the beginning of the school year.

She suggested the Salisbury church try to provide backpacks with supplies for children in Columbia, according to Dunkin, since families were having to focus on other needs.

So that is what Dunkin’s church is doing.

“Many have been wondering what we can do for South Carolina,” Dunkin said, “and so this is a unique way to provide for the needs of children whose families have suffered in this disaster.”

First Presbyterian Church is asking members to bring “Backpacks for Columbia” to the church by Oct. 19 to be delivered to the school system in Columbia.

“If anyone in the community would like to help, you are welcome to bring a backpack to the church office at 308 W. Fisher St. no later than October 19,” he said.

Supplies requested include backpack, notebook paper (at least 150 sheets), pencils and sharpeners (or mechanical pens with erasers), pens (packages of two or more), crayons, 2″ or bigger three-ring binders, 6- to 12-inch rulers; six pocket folders of assorted colors, pen/pencil pouch designed to go in a three-ring binder, two spiral-bound notebooks of standard filler paper size and a box of tissues.

“Let’s try to make a difference for our sisters and brothers close to us in South Carolina,” Dunkin said.

For more information, call Dunkin at 704.636.1321.