by: Karen Martin Lifestyles Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
A back to school clothing ministry sponsored by three Baptist associations provided for 457 individuals with registered appointments to attend.
On Friday and Saturday. 16 individual churches provided clothing, both new and slightly used, and school supplies to students in need.
Each child received six pairs of new socks and six pairs of new underwear. The school supplies included such items as loose leaf paper, composition books, pencils, erasers, glue sticks and more according to the grade level of the child receiving the supplies.
For those families with special needs or clothing sizes, individual bags were made with a minimum of five outfits each and set aside.
Steve and Vickie Hash coordinate the clothing give away. Their commitment to community service and their faith are reflected by the many individuals lives they touch during the clothing ministry. They also contribute their time to the Byrd Ridge Crisis Center, located in property owned by Peace Haven Baptist Church.
"The church built a large building with a gymnasium, offices and classrooms and provides space for the Byrd Ridge Crisis Center and Food Pantry," Josephine Hendrix a volunteer said. "Steve and Vickie Hash are not the type of people who look for recognition. They're just good people who run the clothing bank and do everything they can to help others."
"This year we do not have a limit on the outfits that a child can have, but we do try to make sure that the individuals are getting the sizes they requested on the application," Vickie Hash said. "After all the individuals who have appointments have visited the event, we open to the public on Saturday at 10 a.m. Families who were not aware of our event in time for an appointment may then come in and we try to provide them with items they need."
Any sizes that are requested that have not been donated Hash along with other church members in the three associations go out and purchase.
"We try to provide each family with items they need," Steve Hash explained. "The same goes for the food bank. Individuals are allowed to go into our food bank and pick the items their family will use." Hash said that the system helps eliminate families being given food items that may not be allowed on restricted diets and foods that the families would not want.
The Back to School Clothing Ministry began with Peace Haven Women's Missionary Union in 1998 when a group of ladies decided to host a clothing closet and provide free school supplies and underwear to those in need. The number of individuals being helped has grown from 135 to over six hundred.
Stone Mountain Baptist Association, Brushy Mountain and Yadkin Valley Baptist Association are the three main contributors to the event. Business such as Huitt Mills, Elmer's Products, Inc., of Statesville, City Paper of Alabama, and Bath & Body Works of Elkin contributed products to make this years event a success.
"I come every year, this is my third year. I have a little girl in the second grade and twin boys in kindergarten, it really helps a lot," Evelyn Bailey, an attendee at the event said. "I've been to the food pantry once or twice."
"The Byrd Ridge food pantry helps those who come to us and say they need help," Steve Hash said. "We don't require them to prove their income. If they come to us because of not being able to provide food for their families, we do everything we can to help. Occasionally, we try to help with rent and power. They do need to call first and we make immediate appointments for the next day we're open. I don't believe in making people wait for weeks for an appointment. If they've asked for help, they need it now."
The Byrd Ridge Crisis Center and Food Pantry is open on Wednesday and Friday mornings. Individuals can call and make an appointment at 336-838-5847 on Tuesday's and Thursday's before 3 p.m. The Byrd Ridge Center works in conjunction with the Ministry of Hope and Samaritan's Kitchen. Families are rotated through the three food pantry/assistance centers every two weeks, thus allowing for each center to help more people.
"We have people from outside Wilkes County come to us for help and we do the best we can to provide. Many residents of Surry and Alleghany who live close to the county lines come to us," Hash said.
The individuals who have appointments are from two groups , one is the families who utilize the services of Byrd Ridge Crisis Center Food Pantry, and the other is the children in the local schools who are on reduced or free lunch. A flyer is sent home prior to the end of school informing the parents about the event. The parents have to call for an appointment.