Church prepares hundreds of kids to head back to school

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- The middle of August signals the peak of back to school shopping for parents across the Chippewa Valley. But for many, paying for backpacks, school supplies and new clothes can break the bank.

That's why an Eau Claire church is stepping in to help.

“One of the most rewarding moments is to see a small child running to the backpacks with anticipation and searching for the right princess backpack or the right superhero backpack and just the joy in their eyes as they lift the backpack up and show their parent is exciting,” Ben Anderson with Peace Lutheran Church said.

School shopping can be one of the most exciting times of the year for kids.

“I got a backpack that is all red white and black,” Loukas Tenney said.

Tenney and his siblings are getting ready to go back to school, this year they'll each have brand new backpacks thanks to Peace Lutheran Church.

“I'm the only one working at my house right now it’s tough,” Stacy Tenney said.

For mom of three Stacy Tenney, paying for school supplies means stretching her budget even tighter than it already is. That's why she's thankful that Peace Lutheran Church stepped up to distribute school supplies, backpacks and clothes for nearly 500 kids in the Chippewa Valley Tuesday night at an event held at Longfellow Elementary.

“This is a great event it’s started small and has grown and the volunteers from Peace Lutheran have met every need that developed,” Longfellow Elementary Principal Sarah Lynch said.

Lynch says Peace Lutheran Church first came to the school with the idea of a back to school event four years ago and every year the event grows.

“I just love seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces after their haircut for school,” Wendy Lewitt said.

On top of school supplies and new clothes, kids also get to walk away with a new hairstyle. All of it leaves both kids and adults headed out the door with smiles on their face, ready for the school bells come September.

Peace Lutheran Church says just under 500 backpacks were handed out to kids at Longfellow Elementary Tuesday afternoon.

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