BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon Toyota General Manager Kip Cottrill said when he read the My Buckhannon article detailing items needed to assist the Upshur Parish House put together 900 back-to-school backpacks for area students, he knew it was something the car dealership wanted to help make happen.
It would allow Buckhannon Toyota to give back to the community that consistently supports them. So, this past Friday, July 29, Buckhannon Toyota invited Upshur Parish House Executive Director Kristi Wilkerson and volunteers Rev. Barry and Pam Moll to the facility where they received a check for $3,000 to purchase the remaining backpacks and supplies needed to complete the project.
“We try to watch and if there is something in the community where we can help, we try to help,” Cottrill said. “The amount of need is amazing. The community is good to us, so we try to give back to the community. The Buckhannon Toyota owners are big on helping in the community.”
Wilkerson said the Parish House added the large donation to other donations and the organization was able to purchase what was still needed. She said the funds and supplies to do this project come from donations from local civic organizations, businesses, social groups, clubs and individuals. She said when the Parish House shares they have a need, many entities in the community step up to fill that need.
“One of the issues this year is that backpacks have become really expensive,” Wilkerson said. “Your gift allowed us to purchase cases of backpacks online. It was perfect.”
Parish House volunteer Rev. Barry Moll said about two years ago, they filled 400 backpacks to distribute to students.
“You can imagine how our support lines have been stretched,” Barry Moll said, “but the whole county continues to step up and step up. It is very heartwarming.”
Pam Moll said the volunteers gathered and began filling the backpacks Monday, Aug. 1.
“We have nearly 100 volunteers who will work all week to put the backpacks together for the students,” Pam Moll said.
Barry Moll said he feels the backpack program is very worthwhile because he said in today’s world, students do not get a backpack and carry it for four years.
“They buy a backpack each year and some students would have to carry it for three or four years, and it might have been a used backpack when they received it,” Barry Moll said. “This lets every kid come into their school on the first day like every other kid. That is dignity. That is so important.”
Distribution of the backpacks will take place at the Parish House, located at 68 College Ave, Monday through Wednesday and at the Banks District Volunteer Fire Department in Rock Cave on Thursday. Hours for pickup will be Monday, Aug. 8 from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Parish House; Tuesday, Aug. 9, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Parish House; Wednesday, Aug. 10 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Parish House; and Thursday, Aug. 11 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Banks District Fire Department.
There is no pre-registration required for backpacks, and no signup is required; all regular guidelines for income apply.
Also, during the month of August, the Clothes Closet will not be accepting any donations due to a lack of storage space.
The Upshur Parish House is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. They have evening hours from 5 to 7 p.m. each Thursday. Additional information is available by calling the Upshur Parish House at 304-472-0743 or by following them on Facebook.