By Heather Regula, Correspondent
Project Apple Tree is in its 17th year of serving children in our community and is an excellent example of the remarkable impact that is made when like-minded and community-oriented people work together. Project Apple Tree started in 2000 and served 250 children. This year, the project is touching the lives of 1,333 children in Belton and Little-River Academy.
“Temple College Dental Hygiene provides toothbrushes and toothpaste. The Temple Altrusians provide a hygiene pack consisting of soap, shampoo, and a washcloth,” said Sara Hector, Volunteer Coordinator for Project Apple Tree. “This project is successful because of the generosity of so many – approximately 20 churches, seven or eight businesses, organizations such as Kiwanis, Altrusa, Rotary Club, and numerous other community volunteers.”
Project Apple Tree allows children to start the school year with new clothes, a new backpack, and new school supplies.
“We hope this helps with students’ self-esteem and that maybe we are even helping to take the burden off teachers somewhat by providing these children with fresh supplies,” said Hector.
Altrusians gathered at the First Baptist Church in Belton to assemble the hygiene packs on Tuesday, August 8. Belton Firefighters pitched in and helped to download the supplies from a trailer. Amy Hopper and Debbie Mabry co-chaired the Altrusa project in support of Project Apple Tree.
“Altrusa’s big fundraiser is ‘A Taste of the Holidays’ and funds raised last year were used to help support our involvement in Project Apple Tree,” said Mabry.
This year’s “A Taste of the Holidays” will take place on Thursday, November 16 at the Mayborn Convention Center in Temple. Doors will open at 10:30 a.m., and the event starts at 11:30 a.m.
“It’s a sellout event every year so be sure to buy tickets early. Tickets will be available online at www.altrusatemple.org starting October 1,” said Mabry.
Anyone interested in helping out with Project Apple Tree can unload trailers and organize supplies starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, August 12, at the First Baptist Church in Belton.