EL DORADO – The First Baptist Church here sponsored a back-to-school fair, Aug. 12, to support families in the community.During the fair, there was vision and hearing tests for children, as well as a free backpack give-away; the backpacks were full of school supplies. Students also received a pair of new shoes.
“We acquire the specific list of needed supplies for each grade from the local school. Each child will receive a backpack filled with all of the required supplies for their grade level according to the school’s lists. That will include everything from paper, pencils, and pens to crayons, scissors, and glue. The service is offered to any student,” event organizer Terry Austin said.
“The criteria for participation is based on financial need and is screened by West Central (Community Action Agency). Their registration form includes information about the child’s grade level and shoe size,” Austin said.
A number of years ago a group known as the Cedar County Coalition started the fair. When the organization ceased to exist, the program was organized and run by the West Central Community Action Agency. In recent years FBC El Dorado has partnered with West Central. They approached the agency about program growth—and this year FBC El Dorado took on a larger role.
“This year the fair is sponsored by First Baptist Church in cooperation with West Central and the El Dorado Springs Ministerial Alliance and is providing many more services that in past years for children as they prepare to go back to school,” Austin said. “The local fire department will be on hand with Smokey the Bear, and the local diaper pantry will also be hosted by First El Dorado. West Central will pass out weatherization information. There will be entertainment for the kids. And they didn’t forget the Bibles—they will be passed out by the Ministerial Alliance.
“Women in the Word intend on this ministry becoming a annual event. We hope with each year we can grow and make it better than the year before. It is hard being a child and not having what the other kids have and it is even harder to be a child and have the worry or burden on your shoulders wondering how you are going to get what you need. Most of all we want to reflect Christ’s love through our actions.”