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School supplies for those in need

The Centenary United Methodist Church will be holding their 8th Annual Back to School Free Stuff giveaway on Aug. 1 at the Centenary United Methodist Church Cornerstone Café in Bonne Terre.

For those families in St. Francois County who need assistance and don’t qualify through the St. Francois County’s Back to School Program, the Cornerstone in downtown Bonne Terre adjacent to Centenary United Methodist Church will offer basic school supplies for students in grades K-12.

Organized by retired teachers, Deborah Volner and Judy LaBruyere, the event is designed for families that do not qualify for any other fair.

“We do not intend to serve the same families that are served by other similar events,” explained Volner. “We want to help make sure all students have the basic supplies they need to start the year off right. Those who take supplies at more than one fair are really taking supplies away from a child who may not otherwise be served.”

The supplies will be free to all, beginning at 8 until 10 a.m. A light breakfast will be available. In addition, those who attend will be able to receive a free haircut with a lice check.

Free Stuff for School is a ministry of Centenary Church and has helped hundreds of families since it began eight years ago. Last year, 422 students were served from 158 families.

This year they are hoping to have St. Francois County D.A.R.E Officer Deputy Carver on hand that day, as well as some of the school counselors to talk with the kids.

The church is always accepting donations for the school supply day, they accept anything from one notepad to a backpack. Donations can be dropped off at the church office anytime it is open. Whatever they don’t have enough of they will purchase with the cash donations and money raised through their fundraisers.

Registration is required at the door where a personal shopper will greet each family. Together, they will select backpacks and basic supplies for each grade based upon the North County Schools supply lists. Centenary Church is located at 20 Park Street. For more information, call the church office at 573-358-2238.

Last year volunteers Jan Caudle, left, and Karen Breck prepared backpacks for shoppers at Free Stuff for School.

Last year volunteers Jan Caudle, left, and Karen Breck prepared backpacks for shoppers at Free Stuff for School.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or

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