Pelham church grants gift cards to teachers

A Pelham church recently helped teachers at Valley Elementary School deal with the back-to-school budget crunch many are experiencing in the face of statewide school funding cuts.

RiverPoint Church, which has a new facility on Bearden Road near Pelham High School, recently donated $25 Walmart gift cards to 20 of the school’s teachers in an effort to help them fill their classrooms for the beginning of school.

“We knew that our contribution would be just a drop in the bucket compared to the need,” said RiverPoint Pastor Bobby Lewis. “The principal and teachers were excited about the gift, considering many of them had purchased supplies for their class out of their own pockets this year.”

Lewis approached his congregation about the project a few weeks ago, and church members began donating their money almost immediately, he said.

“What we want to do at our church is fall in love with our community,” Lewis said. “This is one of the first steps toward doing that.

“I challenged them to pitch in $25 to help our local schools, and they really responded,” he added.

Because many schools have lost funding as a result of state proration, most local teachers have been forced to purchase school supplies with their own money.

Even though Lewis said $25 was a small donation compared to the amount of money each teacher has spent already this year, he said Valley Elementary teachers were “very excited” when they received the donations.

“We realized that some of our schools in the city needed some help,” Lewis said. “We realized that if we all pitched in, we could make a small dent in their needs.

“We also have a dynamic kids’ program at our church, so our children are very important to us,” he added. “We just wanted to help them out in any small way we could.”