As children get ready to go back to school parents are probably realizing how expensive new clothes, shoes and school supplies can be. That’s why a local group is getting ready to handout hundreds of school items for free.
Parents like Heather Turpin know the pain of buying back-to-school supplies. That’s why she's so grateful both of her children will be getting free goods at an event Sunday when Good Samaritan Ministries hands out 1,200 boxes of supplies.
Each box is filled with essentials for back-to-school like clothing, new shoes, even a backpack. Inside each backpack are school supplies so the kids are ready for the new school year.
"They can go back to school feeling good about who they are. They’re fully prepared they look nice, they fit in and you know how hard that first day is," says Good Samaritan Ministries Executive Director Sarah Wells.
Wells says this year has been harder than most due to several factors including a Kingsport non-profit New Clothes For Kids shutting down, an increase in need and a cut in government grants. She explains the grant requirements now say, "No more clothing, no more school supplies, no more backpacks and no more food. So that left rent, utilities and deposits, but it took out some of the most important things for me."
Good Samaritan Ministries is relying on the community's support, including a $1,000 check from AT&T handed out Tuesday.
Wells says this year she's making it work, but as the need continues to climb so does the concern that someday the gap between need and money to provide will become too wide.
Good Samaritan Ministries provides for eight counties in the region. All of the children receiving goods on Sunday have been identified by their school counselors.