The start of the school year poses challenges for plenty of families, which is why a church in Lone Grove plans to help them this weekend.
Lone Grove Assembly of God is holding their fourth annual Love Lone Grove Day this Saturday, where they’ll be giving away school supplies and backpacks, haircuts, groceries and clothes.
Pastor Gary Dotson said he brought the event with him from his former church in Muskogee.
“We’ve seen that there’s such a need in our community and in Ardmore, Wilson, Dickson,” Dotson said. “It’s not necessarily just for Lone Grove.”
This year, the church plans to give away 400 backpacks for different age groups. Dotson said they prepared for each age group by following Lone Grove Schools’ attendance.
“We can’t cover all of the needs, but we can cover a big majority of them,” Dotson said. “The event starts at 8 a.m., and last year by 7:30 there was a line of people waiting from the door to the highway.”
The church is also prepping 100 bags of groceries, mostly nonperishable items. Dotson said the hair stylists are all church members volunteering their time and the garage sale items are all donated by church members as well. The church will also provide lunch on the day of the event. The congregation of roughly 200 have donated everything, including their time.
“It’s been a really neat thing for our church,” Dotson said. “It takes so many people to make this thing work.”
Everything is free, including items in the garage “sale” the church will hold.
Church volunteers have spent weeks organizing the donations, sorting them by size and hanging them on racks built by church members. Volunteers Amanda Childress and LaDonna Childs said clothing for young children is always in demand.
“To me, it blesses my heart because I can take all of this stuff, make sure it’s hung up, it’s organized, it looks nice, and then we can give” Childs said. “It’s just that love of people.”
Love Lone Grove Day will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. August 4 at Lone Grove Assembly of God, located at 15657 Highway 70.
“There’s everything back there from kids’ bicycles to prom dresses and everything in between,” Dotson said. “We also saw a big need for bedding, sheets, comforters and pillows.”