Two area churches are getting ready to go back to school.
Officials at Yukon’s First United Methodist Church and The Good Fight Church are planning school supply drives.
First United Methodist Church’s drive is geared toward Canadian County children who are in foster care, while the Good Fight Church’s drive is for everyone.
The Rev. James Hunt, the associate pastor at First United Methodist, said more than 400 children from Canadian County are in foster care.
Hunt said the church’s social justice committee was looking for a way to help the state Department of Human Services.
Initially, the group began an emergency closet to help out. The closet offers things like diapers, clothes, basic toiletries and gift cards that can be used to purchase those type items.
However, Hunt said when back-to-school time arrives, the expenses can grow substantially.
“One of the things we know is how expensive back to school shopping and purchasing school supplies is,” he said.
One committee member is a former DHS worker, who offered suggestions about ways to help.
The church plans to host a carnival on July 29 during which they hope to hand out new backpacks loaded with school supplies that have been donated from throughout the community.
He said the church is looking for a variety of school supplies, ranging from pencils and paper, to scissors and glue.
“We know there will be kids in every age range. Any of the items on any of the school lists will be helpful,” he said.
The biggest needs, he said, will be paper and pencils.
“You can share scissors, you can share glue. But (lack of) pencils and paper can hold you back,” Hunt said.
The goal is not only to make sure the children are ready for school, but also to help out the foster families.
“These are people who are taking care of some of our most vulnerable people. We want to bless the people who are being a blessing,” he said.
Meanwhile, Youth Pastor Josh Laughter with The Good Fight Church, said his church will host a school supply event on Aug. 14.
Laughter and Senior Pastor John Phipps said the church’s goal is to fill 363 backpacks. Last year, the church helped 63 families, providing school supplies to 180 children.
Phipps said the goal is based on the number of children attending Central Elementary, where his daughter is a second-grade student.
“We want to be able to equip an entire school,” Phipps said.
Laughter said they are looking to add partners to the program. Currently, the church has partnered with Great Clips, 600 Garth Brooks Blvd. Suite 105, and the Vitality Mill, 900 Westport Blvd, to help with the supply drive.
Phipps said they are looking for any type of school supply.
The two pastors said there is a need for help, pointing out that the average cost to provide supplies to students is $100.
“Last year, we saw the distress on the families and didn’t realize the impact it would have,” Phipps said.
He said people were lined up waiting for assistance well before the event began.
“The ultimate goal is not to equip them with school supplies, it is to equip them with relationships, to restore families,” he said.
Laughter said anyone wanting to help with the school supply drive can look at a list of needs on their website, thegoodfight.church or can call 265-1121.
The deadline to donate is Aug. 6.