By Karen Boeck
Our conference has supported a “Back to School Program” for the last couple of years for our neighbors with school age children who reside within our boundaries. Once again, this year Linda McKinley is chairman of this special project. Linda is a former teacher, and the welfare of children has a special place in her heart. This year the SERV Ware program helped to identify the families with children whom we have served in the last year, making the task of finding eligible children simpler. The work of calling the families began in June with Yvonne Evans, Jan Sherman, and Lorna Niemantsverdriet assisting. Children in kindergarten through twelfth grade were identified as eligible to receive a gift card to be used to buy needed supplies for the new school year.
Thirty-three families were called originally to determine if they wished to take part in this program. Surprised parents were happy to hear of the offer of unexpected help. With summer bills and added expenses, many were struggling to just survive. The gift cards offered can be used toward supplies, clothes, shoes, or any other needed items for the upcoming school year. After several calls, it was interesting to find that within our conference boundaries there are a variety of caregivers — two parent families, as well as single moms, single dads, and even grandparents responsible for grandchildren.
Of the thirty-three families called, gift cards will be sent to forty-two children representing twenty families. The callers discovered that some families had moved or were not able to be contacted. Others selflessly opted to give the gift cards to another family in need. As most schools start the school year in August, the hope is that providing these families with the gift cards this summer will help to give the students a start for a successful new school year!