Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church hosts back-to-school giveaway

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2016

By Amanda Raymond

SALISBURY — Children of the community were able to get a backpack full of school supplies, uniforms, shoes and more — all for free thanks to Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church.

Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church, at 719 S. Caldwell St., under the leadership of Rev. Dr. C.L. Phelps, held its annual back-to-school giveaway to benefit the local community on Saturday.

This year, the giveaway was named the Clayborn and Morgan Back-to-School Giveaway in memory of two teachers who were members of Gethsemane and died this year.

The giveaway was sponsored by the church’s Sunday School Department.

Rev. Arnié Woods said the department donated more than 300 backpacks and the rest of the congregation donated even more.

This was the first year that the church was able to have all of the donated supplies in backpacks.

Hazel Chambers, a member of Jerusalem Baptist Church, donated new shoes, socks, uniforms and underwear for the children.

The backpacks were organized by grade level. The elementary-level backpacks had things like tissues, glue sticks and pencils, while the high school backpacks had things like composition notebooks, pens and thumb drives.

“We decided that this would be a good way to help the community,” Woods said.

She said the church wanted to be able to help the families in the area who may be struggling financially.

“God has blessed us to bless them,” she said. The church members purchased all of the supplies and Chambers purchased all of the clothes and shoes.

Harvey Archie Sr., assistant superintendent of the Sunday School Department, said there are people in the area who may not have the means to purchase school supplies for their children.

“It’s nice to give back to the community,” he said. “I just thank God that we are blessed to do this.”

Community members were allowed in the building a couple of groups at a time so that the room did not get too crowded. Volunteers helped parents find the backpacks that matched their children’s grade level, and then directed them to the shoe and clothing sections.

Anitra Kelly said with student loan debt and other expenses, she doesn’t always have extra money to spend on school supplies.

“It means a lot when I’m on a fixed income,” she said.

Angel Allman was able to get supplies for her two daughters.

“They can go back to school with the shoes and supplies and what they need,” she said.

Parents and children waited in line outside of the building for their turn, sometimes wrapping around the corner of the church.

Melissa Leach and Mariah Gregory stood in line with a group of family members.

“If it takes for me to stand out here in the hot sun to get (my child) the supplies, then I’ll do it,” Gregory said.

In the first hour, around 300 children were able to get the school supplies they needed.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.