(Seguin) -- A local church is encouraging everyone to mark their calendars for this year's Day of Hope. Hillcrest Church is setting out to offer its largest back-to-school outreach event yet on Saturday, Aug. 5 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Since the event is being held a bit earlier this year, Pastor Mike Rodriguez and Day of Hope Coordinator Farrah Brummett wanted to ensure ample time for getting the word out to local families.
Rodriguez says Day of Hope is a full morning of outfitting local kids with all their needs for going back to school.
"We wanted every child -- the moment they step onto that school property -- to step in with self confidence and say you know what, we're going to tackle this school year and you can do that with a good pair of clothing. You can do that with a brand new backpack, with a fresh haircut. You can attack that. So we're trying to take the hopelessness out of some situations because some parents just can't afford to buy their kids new clothes. They can't afford to buy a backpack or they can't afford to send their kid to get a haircut. We think $10-$15, but $10-$15 adds up especially with multiple children in the household. Again, we want every kid, every family, the moment they step onto our property August 5 -- you know, Farrah has done a great job of telling our leaders everyone of them is a VIP, a very important person. So we just want them on that one day to receive as much hope as we possibly can. So on that first day of school, they attack it and they're ready to knock it out. That this year will be the best year ever in their life," said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez says there's even been special planning to outfit each child that comes through their doors with a new package of socks and underwear. He says for the last few years, kids have already taken home a brand new outfit.
"We thought about that, we prayed about that, we thought about it, we prayed about it and what made us go with that is we talked with several school nurses. They came to us and said 'you don't know the importance of good clean underwear and good clean socks.' So some of the responses that we heard from school nurses was their budget is taken up buying socks and underwear. So what we decided to do was put into the budget. It's a big stretch for us, but we decided to put it into the budget. It is our goal. We're going to give away 1,000 pair of backpacks, clothing, socks. We are real close. We're short on the underwear count and it's not just one pair of underwear. One of the things that I and Farrah talked about is let's give these kids a packet. So what they're getting is they're getting a brand new outfit, they're getting socks, a packet of socks, a packet of underwear, hand sanitizer, groceries, haircuts, but what I wanted to emphasize was the socks and underwear because when we heard from our school nurses, students are having to leave the classroom because of health issues and a lot of it just boils down to good clean underwear and good clean socks. That's what we put into our budget this year," said Rodriguez.
Brummett says in addition to backpacks, haircuts, a full week of groceries and clothing, families will also be treated to a free hotdog lunch, shaved ice and the opportunity to get healthy.
"We're going to have a health fair with some different doctors and dentists and various health screenings and information on various topics including wellness and health and giveaways at the health fair -- glucose screenings, blood pressure checks and just some ways to reach out to the children and possibly their parents -- to educate them about health and wellness," said Brummett.
Rodriguez says the church plans to reach 1,000 kids on Aug. 5 and hopes families take advantage of the event or extends the opportunity to those who they know might need it.
"Everybody has four areas of influence, family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. So what we're asking is perhaps you know a neighbor, perhaps you know a co-worker, perhaps you know a family member or a friend who for whatever reason they're going through a difficult time right now -- let me encourage you to be a deliverer of hope. One of the things that we are discussing at Hillcrest right now is how we can be a deliverer of hope? Yes, we're putting on this day of hope, but at Hillcrest, we don't want to be a church that just delivers hope one day out of the year. We want to deliver hope every single day, because that's the hope that God has put inside of us. So we want to overflow with that hope, but we also want to be dispensers of that hope. So maybe there's somebody that knows a neighbor, a co-worker, a family member or a friend that are going through a difficult time and what I have learned is people want to help, but sometimes they just don't have the means to help. This is a great way to say 'hey, let me tell you a little something of what's going on in our city over at Hillcrest Church -- it's the church right across from Walmart' -- that's what we're known for. If Seguin citizens get the word out to family, friends, co-workers and neighbors, the word will get out," said Rodriguez.
At this time, the church is seeking donations of children's underwear sizes 4 to 16, packages of socks and perhaps a suggestion for tents or some type of shade to accompany the outside line of folks expected at the event. Anyone wishing to donate items are asked to bring them by the church located at 1440 Eastwood Drive. On Aug. 5, children must be in attendance to receive the back-to-school items.