As kids return to school, congregations reach out in love

Cabot United Methodist Church hosted the community’s fourth annual Back-2-School Fair on Saturday, Aug. 6. With beginnings as the brainchild of a former Cabot UMC congregant, the Back-2-School Fair has grown exponentially over the past four years. With the help of Cabot Public School counselors, area churches, banks, businesses, civic organizations and numerous citizens, the Back-2-School Fair provides clothes, shoes, toiletries, underwear, socks, backpacks and school supplies to students in need throughout the community. The fair also provided free haircuts, a pancake breakfast and door prizes.  A total of 295 students had needs met through this event.

Cabot United Methodist Church hosted the community’s fourth annual Back-2-School Fair on Saturday, Aug. 6. With beginnings as the brainchild of a former Cabot UMC congregant, the Back-2-School Fair has grown exponentially over the past four years. With the help of Cabot Public School counselors, area churches, banks, businesses, civic organizations and numerous citizens, the Back-2-School Fair provides clothes, shoes, toiletries, underwear, socks, backpacks and school supplies to students in need throughout the community. The fair also provided free haircuts, a pancake breakfast and door prizes. A total of 295 students had needs met through this event.

As Arkansas’ children prepared for the start of the school year, many churches took time in worship services to offer prayer for students and teachers as they returned to classrooms or began a new phase of life and work. “Backpack Blessing Sunday” has become a common back-to-school ritual across communities.

During this same season, students and their parents search for just the right clothes, backpacks, notebooks and other school supplies. For many, it’s a time of excitement—but for some households, the expense of all that’s needed can create a burden greater than a family can bear. Summer break draws to a close, and families face a momentous time of year that can all too easily become weighed down with larger than expected costs and even bigger amounts of stress.

That’s where many of our churches step in to help. Here are just a few examples of the countless ways United Methodists of Arkansas reached out to lighten the load for their neighbors.

Oaklawn UMC Hot Springs partnered with a local Great Clips hair salon to provide free back-to-school haircuts at the church.

Oaklawn UMC Hot Springs partnered with a local Great Clips hair salon to provide free back-to-school haircuts at the church.

Greer’s Chapel UMC Magnolia called students forward for a backpack blessing prayer as the congregation surrounded them in support.

Greer’s Chapel UMC Magnolia called students forward for a backpack blessing prayer as the congregation surrounded them in support.

For a number of years, Sardis UMC Bauxite’s Dare2Share ministry has sought to provide everything a young student needs to be prepared for school. Here, a group of the church’s helpers stock donated backpacks with school supplies. COURTESY PHOTOS

For a number of years, Sardis UMC Bauxite’s Dare2Share ministry has sought to provide everything a young student needs to be prepared for school. Here, a group of the church’s helpers stock donated backpacks with school supplies.
COURTESY PHOTOS