Church donates supplies to K-Fifth USD 410 students

Any parent with school-aged children knows that getting kids ready for a new school year is a big feat, especially financially.

Now, thanks to a local church in Hillsboro, all of the students who attend Hillsboro Elementary School (USD 410) grades K through fifth grade will have their school supplies paid for and taken to the school. They simply have to show up and use them.

The supplies will be available in their classrooms at the HES Meet your Teacher Night from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 20.

Friends Tami Driggers, Hillsboro, and Linda Dyck, Tampa, both attend Parkview Mennonite Church. They are also friends with a former Hillsboro resident Carol Goekler who now lives in Emporia. A Facebook post by Goekler sparked some conversations between the two friends.

“Carol posted a thank you to a church for providing school supplies. I was in the midst of buying school supplies for my three kids. After leaving the store and being in a bit of a shock over how much supplies cost for my kids, I realized what a blessing it would be if a church could do that for Hillsboro. Then I thought ‘why not Parkview’?” Driggers said.

“A lot of times nowadays, moms and dads work just to make ends meet. It’s hard. Then with school, you’ve got clothes, glasses, shoes, food and then hundreds of dollars of schools supplies to think of. So I think that Parkview as a Church should be a blessing to people,” said Dyck.

After talking about it more, the women decided to talk to the elders and get approval to have the church take on the project of providing supplies for all the elementary school students. The elders and Pastor Tom Byford gave their full support and a committee of six women was formed.

“It’s been fun shopping and trying to find bargains. We have a great group of ladies to work with,” said Dyck. “And I am so thankful to our elders and to our pastor for just going for it with us.”

The two women then got in touch with the Emporia Methodist Church which buys school supplies for all schools in Emporia K-12th.

“They have been really nice about helping us out and telling us where they got things and their price points,” said Driggers.

The women have also been getting tips and ideas for future years if they decide to keep this project going, which is the goal for now.

“For the future, we would like to be able to go out and buy the supplies (for the following year) right after school starts when the prices are the best, but we aren’t quite there yet,” said Driggers.

The project was funded by Parkview through a fund designated for serving the community as well as offerings and donations.

Some people have asked why provide supplies for all students and not just low-income ones. The women pointed out that everyone is impacted by generosity and it levels the playing field. Everyone has the same supplies.

“We can’t pick and choose who we help. If we can help someone, then maybe they can turn around and help someone. Maybe they can pay it forward. It can be a domino effect. Even if only one person can help someone else, it will be a blessing,” said Dyck. “And it isn’t only Hillsboro kids, but kids from Lehigh and Durham and country kids. Farming isn’t the best right now.”

Dyck feels this is the responsibility of Christians to help.

“We send out missionaries and help people in other countries, but we also have to be helping people in our own country. We are doing this for people we don’t even know. We just want to help, and we don’t want anything in return,” said Dyck.

Byford said his congregation has been getting excited and he has heard positive comments from members of the community.

“I’ve already heard from several people who have said thank you. You look as a church for ways to serve people and to model what Jesus did in helping people. This is something that is making a difference so that definitely is a positive thing,” said Byford. “An awesome outcome of this would be for people to see that the church does care.”

While the supplies have all been paid for and the church is not asking for any financial assistance, many have been asking for ways to help. The church will accept any financial donations. Cash or checks (made out to the church with school supplies written in the byline) can be left at the church. They cannot accept any actual school supplies since all of the supplies have to be uniform.

For more information, contact the church at 620-947-2338.