St. Paul#8217;s has school supply drive

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2007

By 9 a.m. Saturday morning, the line outside St. Paul’s Lutheran Church extended from the front steps all the way down South Sixth Street almost to Park Avenue.

While the church may draw worshippers in search of spiritual guidance on Sundays, these Saturday visitors were in search of schools supplies. The church’s annual Tools for Schools giveaway drew hundreds of families from across the Tri-State. Just around the corner, a part of Center Street was blocked off for the day and inflatables set up where traffic normally flowed. First United Methodist Church members manned tables with crafts and refreshments and offered children’s activities in its second annual Summerfest.

Helping Hand

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This is the fourth year St. Paul’s has given away free school supplies to needy families. The church also has a give-away at Christmas time as well.

“This is our Christian mission, to try to bring the Kingdom of God to earth. We want to try to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and give water to the thirsty,” the Rev. Mike Poole, St. Paul’s pastor, said. “Because of what we have been given, we are called to give to others.”

Tammy Orengo, of Coal Grove, was one of those who made her way through rows of tables filled with pencils and books and backpacks Saturday at the church.

“This helps me out alot,” she said. She has three sons to get ready for school. She estimates that if she had had to buy these supplies, she would have spent between $100 and $150.

Ninth-grader Brandy Wilson, of Coal Grove, and her younger sister Stephanie, who will be in the fifth grade, also picked up essentials for the coming school year.

“They’re ( her parents) are really running low on money this year,” she explained. It is the first time the Wilsons had attended the give-away at St. Paul’s.

This year the church set up two locations to serve needy families. In addition to the church undercroft, volunteers manned a station on State Route 93 at the Evening Shade Greenhouse.

Approximately 200 volunteers either helped prepare the supplies beforehand or were on hand to pass out supplies Saturday— or both. Parishioner Jane Whitworth was in the last category. She assembled supplies before the big event and then handed out backpacks while the long line of visitors filed past. As a teacher, she said she is well aware some students need help getting supplies for school and is glad to be a part of the annual event.

Summer fun

Less than a half a block away, members of First Methodist were making last-minute preparations for its second annual Summerfest.

“It’s basically a little mini-street fair,” said Dr. Wayne Young, pastor of First Methodist. Part of the sidewalk outside his church resembled a mini-mall, with tables of hot dogs, homemade ice cream and craft items.

The church’s family ministries committee sponsors this,” Young explained. “If we make any money, it goes to the families ministries and if we don’t we had a good time on behalf of The Lord.”

Ralph Kelley was one of those handing out the homemade ice cream. He said he anticipated 350 people would visit during the event.

In the street, visitors could take their turn on inflatables and try their hand at cornhole tossing. Youth minister Andrew Black said Summerfest served another purpose too: next week the church has its Vacation Bible School. The street fair might just entice young people to attend activities then, too.