Festival to Get Kids Ready to Go Back-2-School

Organizers at Bethlehem Apostolic Temple and the North Wheeling Community Youth Center hope to send students back to school with a smile by distributing free school supplies Saturday.

The church will host its annual Adopt-A-Student program and Back-2-School Festival from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the center, 334 Main St., Wheeling.

On a first-come, first-served basis, students will be able to select the bookbag of their choice filled with school supplies, said the Rev. Darrell Cummings.

The students also will receive tickets to attend the Back-2-School Festival that can be used toward inflatable amusements, games, food and music at the festival.

Cummings noted the church has been distributing items since 1990, and he said many children who first received school supplies in the early years of the event now are bringing their own children.

“Our goal is to send kids back to school with a smile,” Cummings said. “We helped over 600 kids last year, and we want to do it again. We want to show the love of God and the love of community. We are the conduit. The love passes through us to help those who need it.”

The children receiving school supplies must be present to select their bookbag, he added. Participants need only say they are in need of school supplies to receive the items.

“We’re not interested in where they came from,” he said.”It’s their future we’re interested in. … Sure, we’ve been cheated. We’ve had people take things and sell them down the street. It’s hurtful, but that’s between them and God. We want to help as many people as we can. … We’re convinced your attitude determines your altitude.”

Church members want to show the students they recognize the potential the youngsters have in life, and that they are confident about their future, according to Cummings.

“With the community’s help, this can be brought out,” he said.

It takes about $10,000 in donations to make the Adopt A Student program and Back-2-School Festival a reality each year, Cummings noted.

Local residents also are invited to bring items to the church’s Stuff The Bus event, which takes place from 4-6 p.m. today at the Moundsville Wal-Mart.

Donations to the Adopt A Student program can be made at any WesBanco branch or paid online at northwheelingyouthcenter.org.