By Heather Regula, Correspondent
Dozens of families gathered at the Harris Community Center for the 8th Annual Back to School with God event, hosted by Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, on Saturday, August 4.
“Back to School with God was started by the women of Mt. Zion. They wanted to give back to the youth of the community, even after their own children grew up. Some moms never stop being a mom, and this includes women who never had children of their own,” explained Pastor Teon Bass. “Mt. Zion coordinated and managed the event; however, several partners come out to support and make the day as great as it is.”
Opening remarks were given by Belton ISD Superintendent Dr. Kincannon, City Manager Sam Listi, and Police Chief Ellis. Community and civic partners were present.
Over 100 backpacks filled with school supplies, purchased with funds raised from a joint fundraiser earlier in the year, were given away by members from the Nolan Creek Masonic Lodge #227 and the Belton Masonic Lodge #166.
“We love partnering with other Masons for this community event! Giving back is the greatest joy in life, and we are so grateful to be a part of this event. Back to School with God is an incredible community effort to help kids start out the school year right,” stated Gregory Benson, Master of Nolan Creek Lodge #227.
Children in attendance were divided into groups based on age and then rotated between various stations including but not limited to Bible trivia, arts and crafts, storytelling, and more.
“We have more kids here today than we did last year and that makes me so happy! Eighth Street Baptist Church in Temple provided transportation to about 20 people today. We are so grateful for them and the other organizations that came out here today – OG’s School of Hair Design, Yahweh Beauty Academy, the Police Department, Texas Workforce Commission’s Childcare Services, and more,” explained event organizer and President of Methodist Women at Mt. Zion, Estella Murray. “Belton Police Department gave away two bikes, and there was a drawing for prizes including books, gift cards, puzzles, hats and a candy jar.”
Eleven-year-old Lacey Hollingsworth has attended Back to School with God for the last six years.
“I’m starting sixth grade at Lake Belton Middle School, and I’m looking forward to starting theater arts! I come here every year, and I love to pick out my backpack with school supplies. Today I’m getting my hair cut while I am here,” said Hollingsworth.
The Kelley family attended Saturday’s community event for the first time.
“I have four boys, and three of them are school-age. This is an expensive time of year! I heard about this event on Facebook, and I’m incredibly grateful to everyone here. My boys are getting haircuts, and they are excited to get a new backpack,” stated Audra Kelley.