By Craig Day, The News On 6
CLAREMORE, OK -- Some Oklahomans with caring hearts are helping to ease the burden of back to school costs.
They're holding a big school supplies giveaway. Of course, there are many of those in our area, but you have to hear how much money they've raised, and how many kids they've helped over the years.
Ministering to people doesn't just happen from a church pulpit.
Sometimes it begins in a gymnasium filled with enthusiastic volunteers, new school supplies, and a desire to make a difference.
There are pencils, erasers, sharpeners, crayons, glue and more.
"Two pocket folders," Ray Dawson, Project Coordinator, said. "We go through about 15,000 of those."
First United Methodist Church in Claremore is sorting, and sacking and sending all of these supplies home with Rogers County kids who otherwise might show up on the first day of school empty handed, and heavy hearted.
"They would probably be worried, because they couldn't do some activities," Lauren Worley, eight-years-old, said. "And they would probably be really sad."
"It would be pretty sad, it would," said Preston Platten, nine-years-old.
"It's an awesome program," Calvin Briggs, a church member, said.
And awesome seeing how volunteers are making it happen.
"People are friendly, people are caring and willing to step up and help their neighbor and I think it is characteristic of Oklahoma and our part of the country," Patricia Ingram said.
The little girl skipping with her grandmother trailing behind is Lauren Worley. They're both volunteers. Like others, they saw a need, and stepped in to help.
"Don't say it, do it," Judy Negelein said.
"It makes you feel really good to help people, and some people need lots of help," Platten said.
First United Methodist church members started helping with school supplies 13 years ago, with 200 kids that first year. This year they have 2,500.
"If they say they need them, they come in," said Dawson. "They need them. That's all we require."
Forty-five-thousand kids have been helped over the years, using $42,000 in donations this year alone.
"I'm just glad we have such a generous community even in economic hard times," Briggs said.
For church members, it's a way to meet a need, share their faith and show their love for others.
"Our business is about making disciples of Jesus Christ," Dawson said.
The last day is the August 19th. The program is available for any child in a Rogers County school.
To learn more about the program, click here.