Church fills 230 backpacks for back-to-school supply drive

MORGANTOWN — An area church’s school supply drive ended with 230 filled backpacks Friday afternoon. And a helpful visit from the West Virginia Black Bears mascot, Cooper.

The filled backpacks will be given to area children through Chestnut Ridge Church’s first back-to-school supply drive. Students in Monongalia County return to the classroom Tuesday.

The Chestnut Ridge Church community wanted to “reach beyond the walls of the church,” said Sarah Shaffer, communications coordinator.

That’s why churchgoers decided to collect supplies during the past three Sundays. And they wanted to fill backpacks for several age groups: Elementary, middle and high school students.

Notebooks, pens, pencils, folders, binders, calculators and more were donated and stuffed into the bags, Shaffer said.

“There had to be thousands of school supply items in all of these bags,” she said.

The church partnered with the West Virginia Black Bears Minor League Baseball team as well. The Black Bears held a contest to determine which schools would receive the backpacks. In the end, Eastwood Elementary, South Middle and University High were chosen.

Black Bears volunteers, including Cooper, picked up the backpacks Friday to drop them off at the schools.

Shaffer said there are many community members that are in need, whether people realize it or not.

“It was something we were passionate about, and we want to start doing some more outreach projects like that.”

The church plans to do the drive again next year.

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