Church group supports Mercer County students
August 28, 2012 ·
The Princeton United Methodist Church handed out backpacks, just in time for school.
According to West Virginia KidsCount data from 2010, 37 percent of West Virginia kids had parents without secure employment, a 16 percent increase or about 22,000 children in the two-year period.
These economic difficulties create challenges for parents trying to fill requested school supplies for the year, but families who visited the Princeton United Methodist Church over the weekend received the help they needed.
Volunteers stuffed and handed out 100 backpacks for children to use as they went back to school this week.
Keri Hall from Princeton stands in line with her children.
“I think this is a very good thing because me and myself and my kids, we don’t have a whole lot of money," Hall said, "and it’s good to come here and get some free school supplies for my kids.”
Dawna Watkins organized the back to school party.
“Our church decided we wanted to be able to help those in the community who needed back packs and school supplies,” Watkins said.
Church members pitched in to purchase the backpacks and enough school supplies to fill each one. Watkins says she wanted to help because poverty effects so many people in the region.
“Any area, you’re going find that there are kids out there who can’t get the school supplies," she said, "and we just wanted to make sure that some of those who couldn’t afford it could get it."
"I mean, what else is a Christian church supposed to do,” she said.
Several Methodist churches just across the border in Tazewell County also passed out hundreds more backpacks to those in need.
Watkins says the church invited certain families but anyone was welcome to a bag.
Studies show that poverty and lack of education walk hand in hand.
This head start helps kindergartener Jessica Kessler get excited for the new school year. When asked what she was most looking forward to, she kept it very sweet and to the point.
“Meeting new people and meeting friends all day,” Kessler said with a smile.
Perhaps that little extra motivation will help her become what she wants to be when she grows up: a 'baby doctor.'