Published July 17, 2014
By David Tuma, Journal reporter
Project Apple Tree is getting underway for Belton school children who need assistance with school supplies. It is vital to children to have at least one new pair of clothes to wear and school supplies the first day. Teachers do help many children out of their own pocket and Belton churches help West Temple and Belton children by providing assistance to half of last year’s 1,500 children who participated in Project Apple Tree.
Apple Tree is a project for children from early childhood through the 12th grade with school supplies, a
backpack (they choose), one complete new outfit with clothes and shoes, dental kit and a bible. The applicants qualify and register through the Helping Hands Ministry.
Over 1,000 children have registered so far this year with around 1,500 expected. The program started 14 years ago with 250 kids signed up.
“They have to be a Belton student and provide documentation,” Jeannette Kelley, Project Apple Tree Coordinator, said. “It takes lots of partners both businesses and churches to make this work. The tough thing I see is that these parents have low paying jobs and multiple children. I can tell you that volunteers get a lot of satisfaction. It has an impact on them because they see the people they get to help. If I get a volunteer, they come back next year.”
The Belton schools in each part of the district have a committee who works on the Apple Tree Project. The program is one of the best volunteer efforts, with the best results in Bell County. It is a difference-maker program.
“The schools raise money and send it to me,” Kelley said. “The American Legion Post 55 is a huge asset for us. This year they have given us over $7,000. Each year we get about half of the kids supported through organizations. The other half we have to get from individuals.”
One of this year’s requests included a pair of size 17 shoes. For younger children the cost comes to around $40 for school supplies and $40 for clothes. For older children, it costs around $40 for supplies and $100 for clothes.
For further information or to donate, contact Jeanneatte Kelley at (254) 718-5414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.