TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Church offers backpacks. school supplies to Butler County children

Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Donna Wesolek, 43, of Wexford drops off backpacks at Grace Community Church in Cranberry Township on Thursday evening, August 22, 2013. Church members collected backpacks and school supplies for children who live in transitional housing units in Butler County.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Donna Wesolek, 43, of Wexford drops off backpacks at Grace Community Church in Cranberry Township on Thursday evening, August 22, 2013.  Church members collected backpacks and school supplies for children who live in transitional housing units in Butler County.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Liz Williams, 46, of Cranberry and her daughter, Nikki, 9, sort out pencils at Grace Community Church in Cranberry Township on Thursday evening, August 22, 2013. Church members collected backpacks and school supplies for children who live in transitional housing units in Butler County.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Liz Williams, 46, of Cranberry and her daughter, Nikki, 9, sort out pencils at Grace Community Church in Cranberry Township on Thursday evening, August 22, 2013.  Church members collected backpacks and school supplies for children who live in transitional housing units in Butler County.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Liz Weaver of Cranberry spent a recent night writing letters to children she does not know.

“I'm going to wish her the best of luck for this school year,” Weaver said about one child. “I want to tell her that God is there for her.”

Weaver is one of about 150 volunteers at Grace Community Church in Cranberry who wrote letters to students just before the start of the school year.

The letters went into about 50 backpacks sent to school-age children who live in transitional housing in Butler County.

The backpacks included Kleenex, Elmer's Glue, staplers and illustrated versions of the Bible, among other items.

The church purchases backpacks and school supplies. Volunteers filled the backpacks according to the age of the students who will receive them. Some contents, such as graphing calculators for high school students, cost about $80.

The effort is one of several included in the church's 50/50 Challenge. The program aims to raise $50,000 each year for charitable projects. This year, the church has spent $34,000 on good works, including the backpack program.

The second 50 in the program's name refers to the 50,000 volunteer hours that the church strives to get its members to donate each year.

In addition to volunteering on church projects, members can spend time cooking meals for the homeless on the North Side, splitting wood at an Ellwood City camp or volunteering for Urban Impact, a North Side faith-based ministry.

“We think it is important for our members to be involved in the community and make a contribution. It's a way of putting faith into action,” said Cindy Zonts, director of community outreach at the church.

The church's emphasis on volunteering attracts some of its members.

Ray Davidowski, a mechanical engineer from Sarver, said he enjoyed writing the letters. “This should be about reaching out to people in the community. I just tried to encourage these students in the letters I wrote.”

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-320-7944 or at rwills@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Butler

  1. Butler County motorist dies in accident with tractor
  2. Butler’s jeep record could face Florida challenger
  3. 2 Butler County courses to host World Disc Golf Championships
  4. Regatta annually attracts thousands to Moraine State Park
  5. Connoquenessing neighborhood turns to Web to raise money for clean water
  6. New annex will ease Butler County office overcrowding
  7. Zelienople woman captures 4th shuffleboard gold medal at National Senior Games