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Tools 4 Schools gets kids ready for school

Matthew Livertt waited in line Saturday for his chance to pick up a book bag and school supplies. The Open Door student, who starts seventh grade this year, likes school and Mom wants to make sure he has what he needs to get back to the three Rs in a few weeks.

“We needed to get school supplies for him but I’ve been off work since I got hurt and I’m low on money,” Matthew’s mom, Kim Alexander, of Ironton, explained. The Tools 4 School giveaway, she said, helps a lot.

Not far away, Tracy Rawlins, of South Webster, waited to pick up school supplies for her five-year-old twins, Brant and Brice. Rawlins said she’s a stay-at-home mom and her husband works and goes to school.

“Getting school supplies can be difficult so I decided to come down,” she explained. “I’ve never been here before. I thought I’d see how this runs.”

The annual supplies giveaway was the brainchild of St. Paul Lutheran Church. Together with All Saints Lutheran Church in Columbus and First Presbyterian in Ironton, more than 2,000 book bags were ready to be handed out. This is the first year the Presbyterian Church has taken part in the yearly event— and the first year the event took place outside. In previous years the giveaway was in the St. Paul undercroft.

“I think things are going well,” St. Paul parishioner Nancy Corn said. “It’s a little hot but some of these people have been waiting since 5 o’clock this morning.”

Fellow parishioner Butch Walters said the basic goal was to get kids ready for the start of school, regardless of what school they go to.

“And they come from all over. They come from West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. We get them from Boyd and Greenup counties, from Scioto County and Cabell County and then from Lawrence County,” he said.

Mike Weaver, pastor of All Saints Lutheran, said he hoped the kids and their parents would take away and important message with the bag of school supplies: “God loves them in practical ways,” Weaver said.

This was the first Tools 4 School event for David Ritchie, who is serving as interim pastor at St. Paul. He was pleased with the event and the turnout.

Those who came for the book bags also got fed: the churches provided hot dogs, chips and drinks.

Walters said the event was made possible by donations from numerous area clubs, business, other churches and individuals.

The Tools 4 School giveaway was part of the Summer Festival, sponsored by the Lutheran and Presbyterian churches and First United Methodist Church.