Georgetown First United Methodist Church was bustling with activity Saturday morning as area churches helped about 250 students get ready for school at the 8th Annual Back to School Bash.
The students, identified by various school family resource centers, received a new backpack, shoes and socks, along with school supplies and could get a haircut, teeth checked and sign up for a library card. They could also get their fingernails painted for the first day of school.
Organizer Donna Rennecker said when adults and siblings were added in, there were nearly 700 people, including 100 volunteers, at the bash.
“This brings us so much joy to do something for others,” Rennecker said. “I would rather do things like this than anything else.”
She said it was a chance for churches to put action to words.
“So many times churches have empty words, but this lets the community know we care.”
It takes quite the organization to pull off this event. It started about 9:30 a.m., and families are told ahead of time when to come. They come in 15 minute increments in declining numbers throughout the hour so they can make their way through the stations. They register and receive their number to match them with the right backpack, hear a Bible story, get a haircut, teeth examined, get a free book, try their new shoes on and then had pizza. They and siblings can get their face painted, nails done and then also get information on other resources available to them.
Six Scott County churches sponsor the backpacks: First United Methodist, Berea Christian, Crossroads Christian, Faith Baptist, Georgetown Baptist and Safe Harbor Baptist. Other churches provided school supplies.
“This is very uplifting and fun to come together and do good work in the community,” said Teresa Haggard from Faith Baptist.
Mortenson Family Dental’s Raegan St. Denis, Christy Thomas and Stephanie Ledford were checking student’s teeth.
“We enjoy working with the kids and happy to see them,” St. Denis said. “Some of the families we see today have a hard time finding a dentist that will take their insurance and we take most so this let’s them know they could use us.”
Even after eight years, Rennecker said there is room to grow.
“I think we can take up to about 300 students,” she said. “We are always wanting to make sure we are doing everything we can. For example, we have books for the students, but we have so many adults here that can sign up for a library card we think we can add free books for adults.
“As Scott County grows, we can grow as well.”