Methodist church’s supply drive stuffs 230 backpacks

Alabaster First United Methodist Church member Meggie Collins, left, and Pastor Sherry Harris display backpacks collected for local children in need. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Alabaster First United Methodist Church member Meggie Collins, left, and Pastor Sherry Harris display backpacks collected for local children in need. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – After placing large plastic bins in the foyer of the Alabaster First United Methodist Church Restore building a few weeks ago, church member Meggie Collins’ life got much busier. She wouldn’t have it any other way.

“When we put the buckets out, every time I’d see them they would be full,” Collins said with a laugh during an Aug. 5 interview. “The church and the community just really came together.”

Collins, church Pastor Sherry Harris and other church volunteers have spent the past several weeks collecting school supplies to help local children whose families otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them.

Last year, the church set a goal of collecting enough supplies to create 100 backpacks, and smashed the goal. This year, the church upped the number to 200, and again surpassed its goal.

Through the drive, which is an annual event for Alabaster Methodist, the church encourages donations of backpacks, No. 2 pencils, loose leaf notebook paper, three-ring binders, glue sticks, boxes of tissues, composition notebooks, plastic folders, 24-count Crayon boxes, $1-$5 headphones and child-size scissors.

After collecting the school supplies, church volunteers used them to stuff the backpacks to distribute to local agencies such as Kids First Awareness Community Center, area foster children and to school counselors to use as needed.

“I love seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces,” said Collins, an aide at Meadow View Elementary School. “We’ve got some really loving kids that will get (these backpacks).”

Collins and Harris praised the church congregation – and the entire Shelby County community – for banding together to ensure all local children are prepared for the first day of school.

“We keep getting supplies,” Collins said as she stood in a room full of backpacks ready to distribute. “Right now, we want to get the word out that we have these backpacks for any children who need them.”

Harris is already looking forward to next year’s school supply drive.

“Our goal next year will be 300. I’d love to see it become a communitywide event,” Harris said. “Our children are our most important resources. Anything we do to help them helps us all.”