Upshur Parish House collecting backpacks, supplies for school, no matter what form it takes

BUCKHANNON – Although the form of school students will return to this fall is in flex, one thing is certain – they’re still going to need back-to-school supplies.

That’s why the Upshur Parish House is collecting donations for its annual backpack and school supplies drive.

Director of the Upshur Parish House Kristie Wilkerson said the agency is most in need of backpacks, including character backpacks for younger children 15 inches or larger, as well as larger backpacks, 17 or 19 inches in length. They are also looking for three-ring binders, loose leaf/filler paper packs, folders with pockets, highlighters, safety scissors, 24 packs of Crayola crayons, markers, pink eraser blocks, pencil sharpeners, glue sticks and single subject notebooks.

Wilkerson said this will be the second year that retired Methodist minister Barry Moll and his wife, Pam Moll, have organized the drive.

“They are the perfect volunteers to coordinate this special ministry program,” Wilkerson said. “They both are committed to helping children in any way they can, and they both reflect the love that Jesus Christ has for children.”

Organizer Pam Moll said they discovered how important the drive was last year when they saw how much it impacted the community.

“We already knew that the need was great, but we had no idea when we started last year, that we would give away over 600 backpacks, full of school supplies,” Moll said. “We already knew there was a great need, but we didn’t realize the magnitude of it.”

Moll said although no one is sure what will happen with school this year, children will still need school supplies.

“We still decided to have the drive because whether our kids go to school in the school buildings themselves, or if they stay home and they do e-learning or whatever they decide with school, they’re still going to need school supplies,” Moll said.

Wilkerson said the Parish House has set tentative distribution dates of 1 to 4 p.m. Aug. 26, 27 and 28 and 5 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 26, all at the Parish House, located at the corner of Sedgwick Street and College Avenue.

“These dates are subject to change depending on the pandemic and start of school,” Wilkerson said. “We encourage the public to check our Facebook page ‘Upshur Cooperative Parish: Parish House and Crosslines’ to confirm dates and times.”

Moll said she knows what it feels like to not have all the school supplies one needs.

“So many of us have so much, and it’s such a small thing be able to do a program like this. It’s really a small thing in the big picture, so it’s just something that we have to do. On a personal note on myself, I grew up in extreme poverty, so I know about not having a notebook or enough pencils or crayons,” Moll said. “I know what that feels like, and it’s not a good feeling. To be able to provide these things for kids who probably might not otherwise have them, it’s pretty special to me.”

Anyone interested in donating may contact the Parish House at 304-472-0743.

“I want to say thanks so much to the community and to all the different groups and individuals who have supported this backpack program,” Moll said. “It’s just so appreciated, and we are so proud of our community for being willing to just step up to the plate. There’s been no browbeating and no haranguing; it just happened. It’s just amazing, I am so proud of our town and how they support those who have more need than others.”

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