Church program delivers an education in altruism

The program's president has plans for more school supply drop-offs.
STRUTHERS -- Volunteers from Joshua's Care Depot program of the Faith Fellowship Church of God delivered more than 12,000 school supply items to the district's elementary, middle and high school buildings Monday morning.
Program organizers purchased the supplies, funded by $2,500 in donations from church members and community residents, from local retailers and an office supply Web site. The church is located at 236 Elm St.
Volunteers delivered boxes of notebooks, folders, filler paper, 1-inch binders, glue sticks, bottled glue, pencils, markers, highlighters, dry erase markers, crayons, colored pencils, rulers, paper clips, staples, pens, white out and manila folders, said Shelly Van Meter, president of Joshua's Care Depot. The board of education also received a small amount of office supplies.
The items were distributed based on the needs of pupils at each school because different grades use different supplies, she said.
For example, the 800 boxes of crayons were given only to elementary pupils and fifth-grade classes because older pupils rarely use them.
Assistant elementary Principal Kent Polen said the process for distributing the supplies to individual pupils will be need-based and likely will occur on the first day of school, Sept. 6.
High school Principal Mary Ann Meadows said supplies for middle and high school pupils would be distributed to children who couldn't afford required supplies.
Parents in need of some of the supplies for their children should contact their child's school.
The district is grateful for the aid provided by the church program because the schools want to make sure all pupils have the supplies they need, Meadows said.
Monday's supply delivery was the first of its kind, though the group plans to continue fundraising and deliver more supplies in future school years.
Church members created the program during the past year to "bring hope to the hopeless and bring members of the community together," Van Meter said.
"What a train depot does is what we, in turn, want to be able to do," Van Meter said, adding that trains get refueled and rested while stopping at depots.
The program was named Joshua's Care Depot because Joshua is the English spelling of Yeshua, the Hebrew name for Jesus, Van Meter said.
The church started the program this year to reach out to the community, and has two other facets through which it shares its message, she said.
On an emergency basis, the program provides meals to needy families who have no food. The program also sponsored a series of summer lunches to feed local children.

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