Churches hosting backpack drive

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Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News (From left): United Church of Beloit Lead Minister Steve Erkel, Women's Ministry President Mattie Ashford and Community Baptist Church Pastor Robert Hearns gather for a photo. Community Baptist Church and United Church of Beloit are hosting a free backpack giveaway this Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. at the Beloit Historical Society, 845 Hackett St.

BELOIT - Those who need backpacks and school supplies are invited to a free backpack giveaway from noon - 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Beloit Historical Society, 845 Hackett St.

Community Baptist Church and United Church of Beloit are hosting the event.

Registration is not required and the supplies and backpacks will be given away for free.

The backpacks will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until the backpacks are gone, Community Baptist Church Secretary and Women's Ministry Member Lossie Davis said.

Davis noted there are more than 200 backpacks stuffed with school supplies that are ready to go.

United Church of Beloit Lead Minister Steve Erkel said the groups wanted to give away backpacks for free as nominal fees can add up for families with multiple children.

"Community Baptist Church and United Church of Beloit have been doing backpack giveaways for many years, and we wanted to do it again this year," Erkel said. "It's important to do this to meet the needs of families in our community and get kids off to a good start for the coming school year."

Although there are several other backpack giveaways, Erkel said there is always a need for more.

Davis said she used to work for a school district and saw the needs of students firsthand.

"Sometimes kids don't have the supplies they need and teachers are spending money on getting supplies," Davis said.

Davis said she's also been surprised with the prices of school supplies and said it must be difficult for many families.

Erkel said the backpacks will be packed in the coming days by a team of volunteers.

Erkel said United Church of Beloit has always enjoyed working with other churches. He noted United Church of Beloit has partnered with Emmanuel Baptist Church and Sun Valley Presbyterian on other ventures. Recently, it partnered with New Covenant Deliverance Life Church for National Night Out.

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