Danville Church Helps Hundreds of Kids Get Ready for School

Danville, VA-- It's around that time of the year again, kids are getting ready to go back to school. However, for some parents, buying new supplies can get pretty costly.

That's why a church in Danville gave hundreds of parents in the area, a helping handing on Saturday.

Kids actually got a lot more than free school supplies. First Pentecostal Holiness Church not only gave supplies, but also free hair cuts, clothes and shoes. They also left the children uplifted and inspired.

It all started six years ago, with a pastor in Collinsville who just wanted to help kids get ready for a new school year.

"I'd seen a program in Appalachia where they we putting together shoe boxes, and I said why can't we do that for kids, so we added book bags and few year later we added shoes," said Michael Harrison, Founder of Back 2 School.

That year his church started the Back 2 School program. Now, it's has expanded to six churches throughout Southside. The most recent, First Pentecostal Holiness Church.

"We're really excited about it, we wanted to do something that would serve the community," said Myron Bruce, Pastor of First Pentecostal Holiness Church.

The church took over 400 kids through the program. They first had story time, and then one of the most significant parts of the program, the volunteers washed the children's feet.

"It's following the example of Christ, but it's an act of service," said Bruce. "Just the humility of serving and that's what it's really conveying."

"They actually get their new shoes and socks and then we get the opportunity to pray with them and encourage them to dream big dreams," said Adam Touchstone, Youth Pastor of First Pentecostal Holiness Church. "From there they go upstairs and have access to a clothes closet, a haircut station is upstairs, and also they get their book bags and school supplies."

"Parents, they need a pick-me-up," said Harrison. "They need a way to say how can we get through this school year.

"It's less for me to buy and purchase for the kids, so it was a big help out," said Tamiscah White, a parent.

"The kids get a smile on their face, having fun and dancing and doing fun things, and they're seeing that they are special," said Harrison.

"It was really nice what they did and it inspired me to help people when I grow up," said Kenseth Guill, a child who participated in the program.

The first year of the Back to School program, 150 kids were helped. This year, the program helped about 2,500 children all over Southside.

The founder said the book bags left over will be donated to schools in Danville, Martinsville and Henry County.