Back-to-School Giveaways

By: Kate Eckman
By: Kate Eckman

Fortunately, some local churches opened their doors Saturday to help serve the less fortunate members of our community.

The Palo Alto Church of Christ in Hiland Park kicked off the back-to-school supplies giveaways bright and early Saturday morning. This is the church's 15th year doing this event, and volunteers say at least 100 families were in line at 6:15 Saturday morning.

They say there's a great need for their service in Bay County.

Sandy Wing of the Palo Alto Church of Christ said, "Just happy faces of children. It's really encouraging for them to start out with the things that they need for school."

Wing says the church is trying to serve 1,500 Bay County children this year, and just down the street from the Palo Alto Church the Panama City Rescue Mission set up shop at the Panama City Mall at the old Barnhill’s restaurant location.

The mission kicked off their three-day giveaway Saturday morning. They teamed up with Living Word Fellowship and Newschannel 7 to provide school clothing and supplies to needy families in our area.

The Klothes for Kids project featured legendary basketball player Meadowlark Lemon of the Harlem Globestrotters. Lemon was on hand to visit with the kids and give out clothes and supplies.

Lemon, who is now a minister, says this is the most powerful giveaway he's ever seen.

"When I got here and saw the magnitude of what the church and rescue mission is doing, I said I've never seen anything like this before, and I'm glad I came."

Lemon says "awesome" is the only word to describe this event, and volunteers say as soon as the giveaway wraps up Tuesday they will start preparing for next year.

In Panama City Beach Saturday, the Faith Christian Family Church invited the entire Bay County community out for some free backpacks, school supplies, haircuts and immunizations to get young students ready for school. Their event, known as the Back to School Blowout, served more than 1,200 people, and Pastor Margie Bishop says it's their honor to help the community.

"I have had parents with tears in their eyes telling me thank you. They didn't know how they were going to make it this school season and this is a great opportunity for them."

It was great being at all of these events. There were so many smiles on the kids' faces. They looked excited, and now are ready to go back to school next week.

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