EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — School isn’t back in session just yet in East Providence, but a local church is working to make sure students have the supplies they need for the classroom.
Bridgepointe Christian Church says it is on a mission to strengthen the community.
Over the weekend, parish members went above and beyond at Martin Middle School – helping families gather necessary supplies for the upcoming school year.
“I’ve been picking out a bag and getting new supplies for school,” Kendra Desmarais said Saturday.
Desmarais is going into the fifth grade. At the event, which was held in the school’s gymnasium, she was able to pick out a new backpack to hold everything she needs.
“A notebook, pencils, sharpener, and pens,” she told Eyewitness News.
But according to the lead pastor at Bridgepointe, the event is more than just sharp pencils and crisp notebooks.
“We’ve always said that we believe that if a church is doing its job, the community around it will be better because of it,” said Jared Cowgur.
Cowgur said the church asked the school superintendent what the community needed three years ago. What started as a request for basic supplies turned into a Back To School Fair, complete with games and face painting, eye and dental exams, breakfast, and hair-styling.
All of the services are donated, according to Cowgur.
“I’ve had several parents coming through that line that say ‘thank you so much, I didn’t expect school supplies to be so expensive,'” he said. “Many of them have two, three, even four kids that are going through so I think the financial aid that comes with having supplies provided is just a huge relief for parents as they anticipate the new year.”
Over the past three years – with donations – the church has been able to sponsor more and more schools. Their goal, according to Cowgur, is the sponsor every East Providence elementary school by next year.