“When you look good you’re going to feel good,” Laura Groves, special project coordinator, explained about the motto they have during this project. “That’s kind of what our concept has been for these years. We figure if these kids feel good on their first few days of school… that they’re going to do better.”
People to People’s Back to School Project started as a response to children who need help getting prepared when returning to school. The ministry aims to help those who cannot afford to buy new school items such as shoes, clothes, and school supplies. They save up a whole year of donations just for those who take advantage of this event they have to offer. “If we can remove that burden, then they can concentrate on actually learning,” Groves reflected.
Children from the age of 4 through high school are welcome to sign up.
August 4 and 5 will be days spent in preparation: 50 volunteers will load a semi-truck from Wooster Motor Ways and deliver the donations to the Wooster Church of the Nazarene. “We unload the truck and that takes about 100 volunteers, on a good day,” Groves said. “And then we spend part of that evening setting up the room as if it were a clothing store.”
The Back to School Project takes place August 6-9. On the last day a clothing sale will take place. The sale has only clothing that are leftovers that the clients did not pick up. It begins at 4 p.m. at the Wooster Church of the Nazarene. “The public is welcome, invited and encouraged to come. It will be $5 per paper grocery bag full of clothing. Everyone is invited to come to that,” Groves stated.
The process begins through People to People’s donors. Donations are always needed.
For the Back to School Project, jeans for men and boys are in short supply, especially for teens. “We start by saving clothing throughout the year that’s donated to us. We save school supplies throughout the entire year. These are all donated items,” Groves explained, while checking a zipper on a backpack. “We will begin to pack items away in preparation for the project in August.”
To make the Back to School Project successful, however, People to People Ministries needs volunteers to help with the event. “Our ministry runs because of volunteers. We couldn’t do this without them,” Lydia Stahl, executive director, said about Wayne County’s dedication. “When we need something the community definitely steps up and helps us.”
“We’re very grateful for the generosity that they give us,” Groves added. “We’ll need over 300 volunteers for that six-day period.”
“It’s a great experience to be able to work one-on-one with the children. We always get a lot of stories and blessings when you’re working with those children,” Stahl reflected, smiling at a memory, “when you see the eyes of a little girl who found the perfect dress that they liked.” People to People keeps the best quality clothes, things that kids would be excited to wear.
People to People hopes that, by helping the children, the parents can find some peace of mind, too, and see their child happy. Groves summarized it nicely, “We are removing the financial burden from the parents, but the emotional burden from the child.”
To sign up or to get more information on the Back to School Project, contact Laura Groves at 330-262-1662, ext. 213.
Published: July 11, 2012