Crane community donates school supplies for all pre-k through 8th grade students

Students at one Stone County school got a big gift for back-to-school.

Churches within the community of Crane donated supplies for all pre-school through 8th grade students.

Crane First Baptist Church donated the supplies for pre-school through sixth grade.

"That's 325 students approximately," Crane Elementary School Principal Kelli Rogers said.

Other churches, and the local ministerial alliance, purchased supplies for the junior high, bought backpacks, and even served a meal for families during the school's "open house" event on Thursday.

"[Parents] were still questioning it. 'Is it all free?' 'Yes, it's free!'" Rogers said.

Administrators estimate that families spend anywhere from $40 to $75 per child on school supplies. That's why moms and dads say these donations were a big help.

"School supplies get expensive and just the goodwill that everything was donated for the kids," Eve Earsley said.

"I'm very thankful for everything that they donated and helped us with this year," Kristi Cypret said.

It's an effort to help families during a time that can be tough on the budget.

"It's not that kids came to school, necessarily, without supplies, but now the parents don't have to chose. Am I going to buy school clothes, am I going to pay the electric bill, am I going to buy school supplies? So, I think that's the big thing. It helps those parents out that they're not having to chose where the money goes at this point," Superintendent Dr. Chris Johnson said.

However, parents say it's not just about the donations themselves, but also the support that comes with them.

"Just knowing that somebody is out there wanting to help the kids," Earsley said.

The donations are about making sure that every child starts the school year right.

"There's not that stigma. Everybody gets the same school supplies. So, it's not, 'oh you're getting it because your family can't afford it' or 'your family can't make it happen.' Everybody gets it. So, everybody is excited," Rogers said.

Church members say it's all part of their calling as servants within the community.

"The Lord was very conscious of the needs of people in the communities where He served. This is something that we need to model. You know, the old saying, following in the footsteps of Jesus. That's what we are trying to do. We want to represent Him first and be a blessing to this community by doing this for our families in the community," Crane First Baptist Church Pastor Pat Ward said.

Administrators are grateful that the community is coming alongside families to start the 2018-2019 school year.

"I know it's a trite statement, maybe, that 'it takes a village to raise a child,' but it's true. It takes a village to educate these kids, too. For them to know that everyone is here supporting them means so much. I cannot thank the community enough just for stepping up and becoming a part of our school," Dr. Johnson said.

"It's a great day to be a pirate," Rogers said.

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