Janesville36°

St. Paul’s donates school supplies to elementary students

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ANN MARIE AMES
August 17, 2009
— A new school year means new relationships and new crayons.

Some Janesville students got a jump-start on both over the weekend.


Dozens of families attended a picnic Saturday in Janesville’s Fourth Ward Park. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 210 S. Ringold St., Janesville hosted the free event.


The big draw, aside from hot dogs and games, were the 450 bags of free school supplies. The goal was to donate enough supplies for every student at Wilson Elementary School, Pastor Jason Schockman said.


Every child at Saturday’s event took home a bag of school supplies, regardless of what school he or she attends.


The bags that didn’t get picked up Saturday were taken to Wilson to be used during the year, Schockman said.


This was the first time the church has hosted such an event, and the timing was good for financially strapped families in Janesville, he said.


“We know that times are tough, but that’s no reason to give up hope,” Schockman said.


Church members also donated new and gently used gym shoes. Wilson Principal Becky Bicha had told Schockman that many students come to school with only one pair of shoes. Often, the shoes are a bad fit and not suited for gym class, Schockman said.


The shoes—there were sandals and dress shoes mixed in with the athletic shoes—went quickly. Organizers likely will work on a shoe drive throughout the year rather than waiting until next summer like they did this time, said Eric Hill, one of the event organizers.


Some used clothes also were available.


Hill lives in the Fourth Ward just a few blocks from the park.


Hill manned the grill Saturday and was pleased that families stayed in the park to play after getting lunch and supplies.


“We had to make sure there were a lot of fun down here,” Hill said.


Church members have been collecting supplies for several months, Hill said. Organizers matched the growing pile of supplies with the classroom school supply lists at Wilson, he said.


Schockman had been in the habit of taking store fliers to church and pointing out school supply sales to members, he said.


The idea for a school supply collection was sparked during a class about evangelism at the church.


Schockman said he challenged the class to find tangible ways to “show people we love them, that they are loved.”



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