Kids getting a chance at free school supplies

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Around 1,000 backpacks filled with back to school supplies will be given to families in need Saturday, August 11th.

Living Word church began this backpack program two years ago, and in their first year they managed to give away one hundred backpacks. Last year, that number increased to 300.

This year Living Word Church combined forces with The Rock and the 1st Assembly Church in Jonesboro.

Outreach Pastor for The Rock church, Kenny Fields, says "We see the need in the community, " Fields said. "So, the three churches agreed that we wanted to reach out into the community and just put a loving hand out there and just help them as much as we possibly could."

The backpack contains the general supplies every child will need. Some of those items include a package of paper, crayons, glue sticks, pencils and even colored pencils.

Fields says anyone in need is welcome to these supplies. "This is for anybody in the community, and preferably not one of the members of our churches. We are responsible for them, so this event is really is about helping everybody else out. This is for anybody in grades kindergarten through sixth. They can just come out at 11 o'clock. We'll be handing out tickets to get the backpacks. The backpacks will actually be given out at 1, but you need a ticket to get a backpack," Fields said.

Children's Pastor at the 1st Assembly in Jonesboro, Tony Waller, says he knows firsthand how many children in the Region 8 area need help. "My wife teaches school," Waller said. "I hear from her how different kids need help and stuff like that so this is a way, as the churches of Jonesboro, can come together and bless the community."

Waller says he's proud of what the congregation members of these churches have accomplished together. "You look at 1,000 backpacks and it just boggles the mind," Waller said. "First of all, that we have 1,000 backpacks just sitting here ready to be given away on Saturday. It's amazing when you have people come together to do an event. Each of us on our own maybe couldn't have done the 1,000, but together we can do it. And it's to bless the community. That's the big thing, because there are a lot of kids in the Jonesboro area that need help with school supplies."

Fields says the backpack giveaway is first come, first serve, but backpacks aren't the only thing that will be taking place. They will be providing lunch to those in attendance at 12:30.

Inflatables will be up for kids to play on and free haircuts will be given from 12 to 2.

Waller says he hopes this year is just the start. "There's a strong possibility that this is the beginning of something great, " Waller said. "Just knowing the tangible gift that you're giving to families that really need the help and instead of choosing between buying groceries or school supplies, they've got the school supplies. They can focus on buying groceries for the family or whatever they need."

The event will take place from 11a to 3p at the softball field out at Craighead Forest Park in Jonesboro.

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