The weeks leading up to the start of the school year are busy ones for parents. There’s a lot to get done, and seemingly not enough time in which to do it.
So, last Saturday, the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church stepped up to lend a hand by hosting its annual Back to School Rep Rally at its East Campus on Cheltenham Avenue. It was an occasion for youngsters to receive book bags and other supplies free of charge. The event has been a fixture for 15 years now.
The Rev. Jerome Glover, is an associate pastor at the church. He notes it was an opportunity for the church to reach out to the community it serves. “It is an opportunity for us to invite children and their parents to come up to Enon,” he said. “We gave out supplies as well as backpacks for our children.
“We want them to have a productive and successful school year by making sure they have the tools necessary for them to be successful.”
The church made a concerted effort to connect with the area’s homeless population.
“We reached out to the shelters,” Glover said. “We brought them here, 12 or 13 different families from the shelters and they had the chance to get their school bags because sometimes circumstances are very difficult for them to get supplies for their kids especially, because of the current of the current situation they’re in.”
The carnival-like atmosphere featured games and rides for the children, along with such dietary staples as cotton candy. But the day had a serious side.
Parents could get library cards if their children did not already have them. Children could also get free haircuts and had access to complimentary dental services, compliments of Colgate. Other health screenings were available, thanks to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
For adults, there was complimentary screening for HIV. “They could go inside the church,” Glover said. Obviously, it was very discreet. “We did a quick assessment and the results were usually given within a couple minutes.”
Glover noted the day had something for everyone in attendance. But the focus was on the children. “It was an opportunity for kids to get school bags,” he said. it was an opportunity for kids to have fun. But we also had services out there for them just in case the parents needed them.”