Multiple churches across the state hosted back-to-school outreach events to connect with families in their communities and help prepare students for the new school year.
In north central Arkansas, Compass Church in Batesville on Aug. 12 gave out 750 backpacks and provided 500 meals during their annual back-to-school event. Guests were also offered free haircuts, eye exams, school supplies, and lots of fun activities for the family.
Compass Church South in Southside, a church plant of Compass Church in Batesville, and its church plant, Compass Church in Mountain View, also participated.
Pastor Chad Graves, the church planter for Compass Church, Southside, said it was a great day for the church to volunteer and engage the community.
“All three congregations had visitors the next day come to services. It was a wonderful partnership in the Gospel and engagement for the community. Over 1,500 children were served,” Graves said.
The original organizer of the annual event, Jennifer Crabtree of Batesville, said, “It’s been such an amazing day. Our 750 packs and 500 lunches were gone by 11:30 a.m.”
Pastor Jonathan Johnson from Mountain View touted the event.
“It was so good. We gave away all our backpacks. We cut 80 heads of hair and had so many great conversations. The newspaper stopped by and that was awesome. We had several families come back on Sunday to our service,” he said.
Graves said they are praying for all the teachers and kids as they start the new year and praying for ways for their churches to be a blessing to these families.
In northeast Arkansas, Crossroads Baptist Church in Portia partnered with the Portia Fire Department for a back-to-school bash. They were able to fix popcorn, snow cones, and pass out 15 backpacks with school supplies to different families. They enjoyed getting to visit with several families and invited them to visit the church.
In south Arkansas, TrueHope Church in Sheridan hosted a back-to-school block party. Pastor Jeff Estes said their goal with any outreach event is to connect people to their church to connect them to Jesus.
That is exactly what happened during the Aug. 13 outreach event. Estes said they served more than 100 people in their community including many families that do not have a church home.
“From food and snow cones to water slides and yard games, it was an afternoon full of fun. We were also able to give out school supplies to families with backpacks provided by Send Relief. We love being a part of the Send Network Arkansas family and are so thankful for that partnership as well as our partner churches like our sending church, FBC Hot Springs. Our hope and plan in the coming weeks is to follow up with these families, connect further, and see them grow closer to a personal relationship with Jesus,” Estes said.
These are just a few of the many Arkansas Baptist churches to host back-to-school celebrations within and for their communities.