Thursday, August 14, 2014
Summerville Presbyterian’s large gym, filled with neat rows of boxes with colorful clothes and happy volunteers, was a welcome sight for parents Monday.
It was the annual Hands of Christ school supply giveaway event, and many parents said it was an huge help to their budgets.
“School supplies aren’t expensive, but when you have to buy five sets, it adds up,” said Tiffany Johnson, whose children will attend Windsor Hill Arts Infused Elementary.
School starts Aug. 18, so the giveaway comes just in time.
Hands of Christ strives to provide each child who shows up one new and one gently-used outfit, new socks and underwear, and school supplies.
Kawohi Holmes, whose children will attend Harleyville-Ridgeville Elementary, was referred to the event by Trident United Way, but she didn’t expect the volunteers to give the boys so much.
“It’s more than what you expect,” she said.
Organizer Jan Franks said the first family showed up at the church at 1:20 p.m. for the 4 p.m. event.
By night’s end, 345 children had been served, representing all 12 elementary schools in Dorchester District 2.
The church and the community at large have shown great support, she said.
“We are blessed here at this site with so many people who volunteer,” she said.
The church’s summer camps used Hands of Christ as a mission project and bought school supplies, she said, but even people unconnected to the church have donated.
She was in Walmart talking to a complete stranger about the program, Franks said, and the woman handed her $20 to buy school supplies.
Erica Mishoe said Newington Elementary referred her to the event when she told staff she might have trouble coming up with required supplies.
She has not only her own two to look after, but also a niece, nephew and great-niece whom she’s taken in.
LouAnn Holden said the donations are invaluable.
“It helps out a lot, because it gives us the stuff she needs without having to stress over the finances,” Holden said.