Hundreds involved in Ash Grove Back to School Bash

The First Baptist Church of Ash Grove held their annual Back to School Bash on Saturday, July 27. During the evening, families were able to get school supplies, new school clothes and haircuts.
The event was open to children in grades K-12 in the Ash Grove, Bois D’Arc, Walnut Grove, Everton and Dadeville school districts. About 150 preregistered for the event online or by phone, or they registered on site. Children who were registered were given a colored wrist band; when their color was called, a volunteer walked each child and their parents through the church where the kids got to pick out a backpack, school clothes, shoes and get a free haircut.
Laura Montgomery, who was there with her family, said the event was very helpful to them.
“We’re one income right now, so it’s really helpful to get some supplies from the church, and clothes,” she said.
Christina Heffley, who brought her children to the event, also described the event as helpful to them.
“We’re on a budget,” she said. “There’s still shopping to do, but it helps with the school supply part, for sure.”
Tiffany McCarty, 8, said she was very appreciative of the school supplies and clothes the church gave her.
“I think it’s amazing how this church is giving us free supplies for school and it feels like a blessing to me how they give stuff to us,” she said.
About 100 volunteers helped staff the event; they provided security, walked children through to get clothes and school supplies, and served food. Deborah Browning, 12, was one of the younger volunteers at the event. She said she wanted to serve to show people God’s love.
“I felt like it’s important for others to get the stuff they need for school, and it’s a community, so people should come together, learn about God, and at the same time, get their needs fulfilled,” she said. “I’m happy that they came here to get the stuff that they need, and I’m happy that when they come here, they’ll have smiles on their faces. It makes me glad that they are able to get their needs fulfilled.”
Susan Rust, who coordinated the event, said that the church’s generosity ensured that each child would have the opportunity to choose the clothes, shoes and backpacks they wanted, instead of just having to take whatever they were given.
“The Lord has really blessed us, and we in turn feel like the children need the opportunity to go shopping, just like any other child,” she said. “And, the people in the church are very giving.”
Besides the free back to school items, one of the main events of the evening was a motorcycle stunt show put on by Brad Bennett and Stetson Jones of Real Encounter Outreach. The two performed a number of stunts, including nose wheelies, circle wheelies and power slides. Afterwards, Bennett gave his testimony to the audience, and led them in a prayer for salvation. Following the prayer, Bennett asked anyone who said the prayer and meant it to come forward; three boys did so.



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