Backpacks

The Grace A Lot Weal Church Clothes Closet is fully engaged by the community on Saturday.

Special to the Register & Bee

CHATHAM

Grace A Lot provided school backpacks to community families Saturday.



The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region, area churches, organizations and a small army of volunteers contributed to the distribution effort.

“It was our biggest day at the clothes closet,” Lisa Wiebking, Grace A Lot president, said. “We had a big mixture of shoppers, including parents stopping by for book bags and non-parents shopping for clothes. We had a wonderful group of volunteers helping with all of it. It was a great day of service.”

Grace A Lot Ministries, Inc. is a Christian community organization serving Pittsylvania County.

Along with regular shoppers, 49 families claimed backpacks Saturday, either at Grace A Lot’s Weal Church location or at Watson Memorial Methodist Church. Backpacks were distributed to 109 students as of Saturday afternoon. Two families had five school-age children each, and every child got to pick their own backpack color.

Each backpack included school supplies provided by area churches and organizations. Collections for common school supplies were made by Concord Baptist Church, County Line Christian Church, the Order of the Eastern Star Virginia (Morgan-Johnson Chapter No. 44), Hollywood Baptist Church, Marion Baptist Church, Samuel Harris Memorial Baptist Church and White Oak Missionary Baptist Church. Grace A Lot volunteers then packed each backpack Thursday to prepare for the distribution.

“We packed a total of 100 backpacks on Thursday,” Wiebking said. “It took the Grace A Lot volunteers about 30 minutes to do it, too. The Lord was at work in our hands.”

The 168 backpacks were purchased with the support of the Community Foundation of the Dan River Region. The Community Foundation provided $2,000 for a fall 2019 effort to supply school backpacks and winter coats to school age-children throughout Pittsylvania county.

Grace A Lot volunteers searched for a backpack supplier that provided sturdy, well-made packs at a bulk price. They eventually found new brand name backpacks and purchased more than 150 units for less than $700. There also were donations of clean used backpacks that supplemented the Community Foundation’s financial leadership.

Grace A Lot volunteers next plan to source and buy winter coats for school-age and younger children. Anyone interested may stop by Grace A Lot at the former Weal Church in Chatham to let them know the age and size of a child for winter ordering.