Christine Lee, Irving Reporter
A local church gives uniforms and books to school-age children.
A small church in Irving has been raising money to provide students in need with essential back-to-school items for 25 years.
Since 1987, Northgate United Methodist Church near Belt Line Road and Northgate Drive provided essential back-to-school materials to more than 1,000 students in need.
"When we started this, we had kids that were needing things that no one was able to supply for them, so it became our church that took this on as an outreach," longtime church member Cecil Alumbaugh said.
The 200-member church has been investing about $45 per student, providing books, school uniform pants, shirts, toiletries and underwear.
"They're definitely in the disadvantaged free-lunch program, that kind of thing," church member Maxann Alumbaugh said. "They are referred by either the teacher, the school counselor or the school administrator."
When the program's operating budget fell to two-thirds of what it used to be, the church had to make adjustments, Alumbaugh said. Instead of giving out two pairs of pants per student, this year it can now afford to give out only one pair.
"Every year, it costs a little more because everything costs a little more, so we're hoping that people will hear that and respond to it," Alumbaugh said.
More than 300 students received their uniforms last weekend, and more distributions will take place through early September.
Church members said they hope their efforts will help the kids feel loved and motivated.
"I think it makes the kids feel better," Cecil Alumbaugh. "And if you make them feel better and they have a better attitude, they're going to have a better attitude about learning, about school, about all things that we feel like are important."