"Our church is located on Jones Street, which is on top of the hill in the Summer Hill community," said LaDelle Vital-Herne, one of the event's committee members. "As a part of our outreach and evangelism to reach out to people as well as recognize that, where we are located, there is a great need for things like that for supplies, physical needs, as well as evangelical needs. Part of our reason for doing this -- the immediate reason -- is to help kids get off on the right foot with school starting, and another reason is to let them know that we're there for other needs that they may have.
"Last [year's distribution] was really overwhelming. The response was tremendous and immediate. We weren't even really through setting up when the crowds came in. People were happy to see someone right there in their community doing that. So we know the need's there, and we know that people in the community appreciate it. So we felt the need to do it again. We feel a sense of obligation to provide that kind of help for our community."
With this year's distribution, the committee's chairperson Robbie Colson Ramsey said they expect to at least match the number of students that received assistance in 2010.
"Last year we serviced 100 students and this year we expect to serve 100," Ramsey said, adding the children and their adult caregiver will need to register at the beginning of the distribution to receive assistance. "We know that school will have already started and what we service them with are all of the school supplies -- notebook, paper, pencil. And this year [the supplies are] going to be distributed with like a lunch bag. All the equipment is going be in a lunch bag instead of book bag.
"Last year we did full-service book bags, but this year we're going to give away miscellaneous bags. ... Last [year's event] was very trial-based. We didn't know if there was really a need. And we found that there was a main need for evangelism and not so much evangelism through preaching and teaching the Gospel, but just the basic needs in the community so that people can be successful."
While the event is free, donations will be accepted. There also will be a minimal charge for refreshments.
Those wanting to donate school supplies to this cause can deliver items, such as loose-leaf notebook paper, notebooks and glue, to St. Luke A.M.E -- 130 Jones St. -- on Friday starting at 2 p.m. Supplies also can be dropped off outside the church's door anytime. Led currently by Rev. Charles Ramsey Jr., St. Luke A.M.E. has been serving the Cartersville community for more than 100 years.
For more information about the church and its programs, call 770-382-8238 or visit www.saintlukeame.org.