Throughout Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice, 18 churches will fulfill 3,000 children's back to school needs.
Churches across Sarasota and Manatee counties are making sure that kids go back to school excited and ready — no matter their family’s financial situation.
Through Hope4Communities, 18 churches in Sarasota, Venice and Bradenton will hold Day4Hope celebrations at which 3,000 preselected children and their families are invited to attend a free day filled with everything a child needs to get ready for school.
“The goal is to have [the children] leave feeling very confident, ready for the new year and feeling like they’re on a playing field with other children that have more opportunities than they have right now because of their [current] station in life,” said Kara Altice-Montes, First United Methodist Church event co-coordinator.
The churches work with school guidance counselors who recommend families for invitations.
First United Methodist Church is in its fourth year of Day4Hope. On July 27, the church will welcome 210 children from Emma E. Booker and surrounding schools to attend the event.
The day will begin with breakfast, followed by medical, dental, and eye exams; arts and crafts; a professional haircut and styling; and a family photograph session.
Each child will be given a backpack filled with school supplies, a $75 gift card to Old Navy for clothes and shoes, and a hygiene kit that includes shampoo, deodorant, body wash and toothpaste.
The Patterson Foundation will also provide books for the students, and All Faiths Food Bank will send each family home with a week of groceries.
The church raised $26,000 from within the congregation of which $20,000 went directly to supplying the book bags, gift card and school supplies. The other $6,000 is allotted for operational expenses.
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