By Alyssa Freyman
For the Forsyth County News
As children around Forsyth County get ready for the school year, some struggle to get their supplies and backpack. First Redeemer Church is changing that.
For five years, the church off Peachtree Parkway has been putting together backpacks filled with supplies and distributing them to six different elementary schools in Forsyth County. There, children from financially struggling families can pick up what they need for the school year.
According to the United States Census Bureau, 12,540 people in Forsyth County were living in poverty in 2018.
“We became aware, primarily through elementary school teachers who attend our church, that many families in Forsyth County simply aren’t able to provide the school supplies their children need, and we wanted to help,” said Jeff Jackson, the senior pastor at the church. “Our goal is for every elementary school student in our county to be able to walk into class on the first day of school with everything they need.”
How to help
First Redeemer Church has many more volunteer opportunities coming up and welcomes anyone who would like to help. They are currently participating in a series called Give Love, which allows people to serve North Georgia through a series of service projects, such as putting together teacher appreciation baskets and planting flowers and shrubs at the Lanier Place assisted-living facility.
Contact the church at 678-513-9400 for any questions or if you would like to volunteer.
For the price of $20, the church gets a brand-new backpack and fills it with school supplies. The church buys their supplies in bulk from Kits for Kidz, allowing for the price to be lower than usual.
The church raised more than $15,000, which allowed them to provide 700 students with backpacks.
While First Redeemer gives out the gift of school supplies, they also give out something they believe is more important.
“We love our community and have a deep, driving desire to serve it well,” Jackson said. “We want to do all we can to tell people about Christ’s love and then show them what it looks like.”
More than 150 volunteers from all around the community showed up to put the backpacks together, including some players from the Denmark High School softball team. This was their first year helping to fill backpacks.
“Our coach found out about it, and he wanted us to come and do it and get involved,” said sophomore Jordyn Denardo. “I think it’s fun. It’s exciting to get people to put these backpacks together.”
Since 2015, First Redeemer has distributed 2,550 backpacks, and it plans to continue this service opportunity as long as there is a need in the community.
In the past, elementary schools have shown their appreciation in various ways. Some send in thank you notes, while others like Brandywine Elementary have posted tweets of gratitude on Twitter.
“We were blown away this year when our church received the Partners in Education, ‘2019 Friend of the School’ Award,” Jackson said. “We love partnering with our county’s amazing teachers and administrators to serve the precious children in our community.”