EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Students around the state are heading back to school in the coming weeks, and some elementary schoolers in East Providence will be extra prepared thanks to the generosity of the community.
Saturday morning, the Bridgepointe Christian Church held its fifth annual back to school fair at East Providence High School, where East Providence kids could pick up backpacks and school supplies and receive free haircuts, dental and eye screenings.
Pastor Josh Pezold said the annual event was created to help parents deal with increasing costs parents and teachers face.
“My wife is a teacher and she subbed in every elementary school in East Providence,” he said, “and she began to see that teachers were paying out of pocket thousands of dollars for the students in order to have the supplies that they needed.”
Megan Steincamp agreed, citing lists that include things like hand sanitizer, dry-erase markers, and Lysol wipes.
“It was crazy,” she said. “I was looking at the list and I was like, I don’t remember ever having to, my mom to ever have to get all this stuff!”
In its first years the event focused on just two of the city’s schools, but is now open to all eight.
“We’re not going anywhere,” Pezold said. “We love our community and we plan to stay here for a long time.”
More information about volunteering or donating to next year’s event is available on the church’s website.