Faith community rallies, again, to get students ready
By JESSICA ALLEN
Date published: 7/26/2003
For more than 30 years, the Interfaith Community Council has supplied needy children here with clothes and school supplies.
The Fredericksburg-based organization is now seeking volunteers and contributions for its annual School Dressing Days, which run from Aug. 5 to 7. This year they will be at Fredericksburg Baptist Church.
"When a family comes in we need a volunteer to take each child around to pick out their clothes," said Gayle Lea, one of the event's coordinators along with Gladys Ferguson and Blanche Jefferson.
Dressing Days are for students in kindergarten through 12th grade who live in the city of Fredericksburg and the counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania, Caroline and King George.
Last year, the group provided clothes and school supplies to nearly 720 children, but is aiming to help about 100 more, Lea said. That means the council needs help.
"We are not looking for Sunday clothes," Lea said. "Just clothes they will wear to school."
Some adult clothes also can be used, for children who wear larger sizes. But the group is always looking for boys clothing, she said.
The Interfaith Community Council is made up of about 30 area churches including various Christian denominations, Beth Sholom Temple in Stafford County and other faiths such as Bahai.
Participating congregations provide money to buy new underwear and jeans. Other clothes and school supplies, such as backpacks and notebooks, are also donated.
Donations can be dropped off at Fredericksburg Baptist Church's Caroline Street entrance from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday between now and Aug. 4, Lea said.
Volunteers are also always needed to set up and to help the families, she said.
They don't usually have volunteers younger than age 18 because of concerns that the teenagers attending Dressing Days might go to school with a volunteer and feel embarrassed, she said.
"The last thing we want is to make the child or family feel uncomfortable," she said.
Parents seeking clothing should bring their school-age children, photo identification and each child's Medicaid card and Social Security number, if possible.
Participants should come in through the church's Caroline Street entrance on Tuesday, Aug. 5, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Aug. 6, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 6 to 7:30 p.m.; and Thursday, Aug. 7, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
For more information, call Blanche Jefferson at 899-1916 or Gail Ovard at 898-7076 or Fredericksburg Baptist Church at 373-4402.
©Copyright 2003, The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA, USA)
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