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Local churches host community backpack drive

This year, returning to school will be a little different for students due to COVID-19. To alleviate some anxiety and make things easier on parents and teachers, Goodyear Baptist Church and Newness of Life Ministries are partnering to hold a community-wide backpack drive.

“A number of other churches are participating,” P.J. Williams of Goodyear Baptist Church said.

“This is the first time we’ve done this,” Williams said.

Williams said there is a need for school supplies and backpacks.

She said due to COVID-19 limiting all teachers’ ability to distribute communal sets of school supplies due to risk of spreading the virus, more school supplies are needed than before. Each child needs his or her own individual set of school supplies.

“It’s been a challenging year,” Williams said.

“It’s really a community-wide project,” Williams said. “Our community collectively loves our children.”

The backpack drive is being organized by Rev. Donald Hart, pastor of Newness of Life Ministry; Tarva Cook of Newness of Life and principal at Southside Upper Elementary; Dr. Jeremy Williams of Goodyear Baptist Church and P.J. Williams of Goodyear Baptist Church and teacher in the Picayune School District.

Those interested in donating supplies are asked to bring a backpack to the drive containing a pack of markers, a pack of crayons, a pack of colored pencils, two packs of pencils, a pencil sharpener, a pack of glue sticks, a pair of safety scissors and a note of encouragement for the first day of school.

“We’ve asked them to provide a note of encouragement for the children,” Williams said.

Filled backpacks can be dropped off at Newness of Life Ministries or Goodyear Baptist Church on July 30 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. or on July 31 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

The backpacks will be distributed at Crosby Commons on a first come, first served basis on August 1.

For more information about the backpack drive, call Goodyear Baptist Church at 601-798-6193.