Back to School Event to Serve 3K
This Saturday, students from low income families will receive new backpacks filled with supplies, new socks and underwear, free haircuts, medical screenings, books, stuffed animals, and a hot lunch.
Imagine you’re an elementary, middle or high school student and it’s the first day of school. You walk through the doors, eager to meet your new teachers and see who’s in your classroom. But as you do, you notice the kids around you and you become embarrassed, self conscious.
While they’re opening their new backpacks filled with fresh notebooks and supplies, you notice how yours are tattered and torn. And to make matters worse, your friends are wearing new clothes and have fresh haircuts—neither of which you could afford.
Suddenly your self esteem plummets, and your school year has started on a negative note. And it’s only the first day.
This is the scenario that the organizers of Give a Kid a Chance–Cherokee want to avoid. It’s stated simply in the mission statement: “To help low income families equip their children for each new school year,” with the vision of “helping children in need help themselves to a better education and a better future.”
“We want to make sure each student has everything he or she needs to have a successful school year,” said Cheryl Ruffer, co-founder of Give a Kid a Chance. “A good education and self-esteem will go a long way to help these kids break the cycle of poverty and build a successful future for themselves and their families.”
Give a Kid a Chance hosts a one-day event, planned for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 21 at First Baptist Church of Canton and Hillside United Methodist Church in Woodstock. It’s a back-to-school bash that takes a volunteer crew of more than 400 to give away new backpacks filled with supplies, new socks and underwear, free haircuts, medical screenings, books, stuffed animals, and a hot lunch. Close to 3,000 students and their families are expected to attend. Registration opened in March, and is required for children to receive backpacks and services at the event.
The last hour, 2 to 3 p.m., is reserved for students who didn’t pre-register. In addition to school supplies and screenings, families will be served lunch. There is no cost to attend.
Give a Kid a Chance was founded in 2006 by Cheryl Ruffer and Candi Hannigan. That year, three churches worked together to serve 100 children. The nonprofit is now a partner in education with the Cherokee County School District and is supported by 30 churches of all denominations, as well as other nonprofits, service and civic groups, and businesses. Soles4Souls has contributed 328 pairs of shoes. The Nashville-based nonprofit has given away 14 million pairs of new and gently used shoes since its inception in 2004.
Editor's note: A version of this story previously appeared in the July edition of The Cherokee Vine, a monthly newsletter that highlights news and events from churches, ministries and charitable organizations in Cherokee County.