Churches, community partner for kids in need

Robert Smith

The annual school supply distribution coordinated by First United Methodist Church of Pawhuska drew a strong response last Thursday at the church’s Family Life Center on Leahy Avenue, as families made preparations for the new school year that is scheduled to begin Thursday.

“Yesterday they came in that door like a flood,” said co-chair Sherry Williams, who recalled that people came in the door in groups of four or five. “And everyone is so thankful.”

This is year 13 that First United Methodist Church has worked with other churches, and with businesses and individuals, to provide school supplies for children attending Pawhuska schools.

It began as a much smaller event — the church spent $100 the first year to buy school supplies for 10 children. It grew to $1,000 for 100 children, and it quickly involved outreach to other churches.

Williams said organizers spent $7,000 this year and filled slightly more than 500 sacks with supplies. The school supplies were placed in heaps on tables in the Methodist Church’s Family Life Center.

“I don’t know how many we’ll end up giving out,” Williams said Thursday, Aug. 9. By the next morning, Williams and the other event co-chair, Linda Boone, said more than 300 sacks had been given away, and distribution activities were continuing.

Boone and Williams explained that the event is not specifically for families that could not otherwise afford school supplies for their kids. Rather, it is a community event, and supplies are offered to all families regardless of their ability to pay. In fact, it is common for more affluent local residents to make donations to the event, but pick up school supplies at the church because it is convenient and a good place to see friends.

Anyone who didn’t make it to the supply distribution, and whose children attend Pawhuska schools, is welcome to call the church office at (918) 287-2818 to see if any supplies are left.