First Baptist Church of Alabaster giving back to the community with Clothing for Champions

First Baptist Church of Alabaster is helping students get clothing for the first day of school as part of their community outreach ministry, Clothing for Champions. (File)

First Baptist Church of Alabaster is helping students get clothing for the first day of school as part of their community outreach ministry, Clothing for Champions. (File)

By CLARKE STACKHOUSE/ Staff Writer

ALABASTER – First Baptist Church of Alabaster is helping students get clothing for the first day of school.

Clothing for Champions is a community outreach ministry in its second year started by First Baptist director of Benevolence and Food Ministries Michelle Weaver. She said it’s been a great way to extend the church’s ministries and help give back to the community.

Weaver said they have had a food pantry and been able to give to families in need for more than 10 years. She said many of the food pantry recipients expressed a need for children’s school supplies and clothing.

“People started asking for school supplies and if we could assist in getting those,” Weaver said. “We were able to start giving out the supplies, but I noticed a bigger need was clothing.”

Weaver said she saw many businesses, churches and non-profits gathering and donating school supplies so she wanted to focus on getting the students clothing and shoes.

“It’s a huge confidence boost to the kids,” Weaver said. “They get to have a new outfit on the first day of school like many of the other kids. I think it really helps their self-confidence.”

She said she met with Alabaster City Schools Coordinator of Student Services Dorann Tanner and Clothing for Champions was born.

Weaver said she met with counselors from the Alabaster City Schools district to find students who would benefit from the clothing drive. She said in the first year they were able to provided clothing for 80 students and have 120 students they are helping this year.

Weaver said Clothing for Champions works similarly to the popular Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program. Each child’s name is written on a tag with their clothing and shoe size that members of the church and community “sponsor and shop for.”

Weaver said the average cost for each tag is $75-$100. She said it would be impossible to do it as just one church and First Baptist invited area churches to take tags for their congregations to shop for. She said Evangel Church and Siluria Baptist Church are helping for their second year and Amazing Grace Worship Center joined this year.

“This couldn’t be done without the help of the community,” Weaver said. “The churches and school system coming together has been great. It’s definitely a community effort.”

Genia Blankenship of Amazing Grace said the church has had a great response and happy to see families coming together to sponsor a champion.

“How ever many people it takes, it takes. We just want to see these students get the things they need,” Blankenship said. “We want to show the love of God to our youth.”

Weaver said all clothing will be received by Aug. 1, to allow time to distribute to the students.

“It’s a great experience to be able to give back to the students and this community,” Weaver said.