Hearts of Grace reached out to students getting ready to go back to school and their families July 16-17 at New Castle Christian Church — to help them to start the new year right.
Many agencies, faith community members and volunteers combine their efforts at the end of summer to benefit hundreds of families at the same time, rather than having them trickle into one of the service centers around Henry County and Eminence spread out over the year, according to two of the organizers — Karen Wilson and Renata Ingram.
Schoolchildren, teens and their families as well as other community members can come into the church’s gym and fill up a bag with donated clothes, shoes and coats.
Children can also get books and toys, while teenagers can receive a variety of hygiene products at Hearts of Grace.
“The overall goal is to remove barriers so kids are successful in school,” said Wilson. “When they shop, everybody gets a bag and they can fill it up.”
Agencies that organize the event include the Eminence Family Resources and Youth Services Center, the Henry County Family Resource Center and the Henry County Youth Services Center.
Plus, it takes a lot more volunteers, donors, churches, civic groups and agencies to stock the church with enough supplies, Wilson noted.
Organizations like Eminence Rotary donates hygiene products for teen night, for example, she said.
Henry County Middle School students Chaney New and Kendra Norton did a teen clothes drive as a service project, and student Abbie Wiseheart conducted a drive at Henry County High School as well.
“We just have a lot of people who make donations,” Wilson said. “It’s for a good cause.”
Hearts of Grace typically helps between 400 and 500 people each year, the organizers said.
Representatives of other groups also attend to share information about their services, such as the Henry County Extension Office, the health department, Humana, the library and more.