Church provides school supplies for city’s elementary school

MB Foundation legacy gifts provide needed funds for project

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More than 60 people gathered in the Hillsboro Elementary School cafeteria Aug. 15 to package and deliver supplies to the various classrooms.

For one evening in mid-August, school supplies instead of meals filled cafeteria tables at Hillsboro (Kan.) Elementary School (HES). Around the tables, members of the Parkview MB Church (PMBC) congregation sorted supplies into boxes by classroom. Tubs brimmed with scissors next to stacks of folders and composition books. Pencils were piled high alongside highlighters, crayons and boxes of glue. Handwritten notes for teachers provided a personal touch.

Using funds provided by legacy gifts and contributions from the congregation, PMBC purchased school supplies for every HES child in kindergarten through fifth grade for the 2019-20 school year.

Facebook sparks project

The project was the brainchild of Tami Driggers and Linda Dyck, who say a Facebook post sparked the idea. When a mutual friend and former PMBC attendee posted a thank-you to the Emporia (Kan.) United Methodist Church for providing school supplies for her boys last year, Driggers says her thoughts went to her own community.

“The thought of someone taking that burden off parents in Hillsboro really resonated with me,” she says. “I also loved the idea that all the kids in school would have the same supplies. A student with a $0.97 pencil box wouldn’t have to compare himself to one with a $10 box.”

Driggers received advice from Dana Roemer at Emporia UMC, who oversees the purchase of school supplies for Emporia students in kindergarten through 12th grades.

“She was extremely helpful and really gave us encouragement and confidence to try to get this going in our church,” Driggers says.

Delores Hiebert, Linda Dyck, Tami Driggers, Rachel Winter, Debbie Allen and Dorothy Broce, not pictured, spearheaded Parkview MB Churchs efforts to provide all elementary students in USD 410 with school supplies. Photo: Michael Klaassen

Next, Driggers and Dyck presented the idea to church elders, who agreed to adopt the project.

“I think the driving force behind our decision was simply a desire to serve the community,” says senior pastor Tom Byford. “Since I started at Parkview a year ago, multiple people were saying, ‘We want to do more for our local community.’ So, this idea was a great way to accomplish that.”

Driggers and Dyck gathered a committee, including teachers Rachel Winter and Debbie Allen and bargain hunters Dorothy Broce and Deloris Hiebert. Equipped with lists from each teacher, the committee purchased school supplies for 310 students, which included enough for five extra students per grade.

“Our committee split up the list of items, so each of us was in charge of finding a good bulk deal on six or seven items,” Driggers says. “We were able to purchase supplies locally in Hillsboro, in surrounding area stores and online.”

 

Packing, delivery and prayer

Once the committee collected the school supplies, more than 60 people gathered at the HES cafeteria Aug. 15 to package and deliver them to each classroom. The evening ended with a prayer walk, led by Byford, through school hallways.

“The way the congregation rallied around (the project) and wanted to know how they could help and get involved felt like the essence of community,” Driggers says. “The contributions from members that have left a legacy through the MB Foundation added a neat element of how giving can go on beyond our years here on earth.”

After supplies were delivered to each classroom, the volunteers walked the hallways praying for the students. Photo: Michael Klaassen
Legacy gifts keep giving

In all, PMBC spent more than $7,000 on the project, or $22.72 per student.

In addition to gifts from the congregation, Parkview received funds from endowments managed by MB Foundation and provided for by legacy gifts.

A legacy gift is a charitable gift made after an individual or couple passes away—a last act of stewardship, says MB Foundation planned giving advisor Andy Shewey. The gift may be used to bless one or more charities or ministries.

Several individuals or couples included legacy gifts in their estate plans to benefit PMBC, Shewey says. By establishing endowments—invested funds that provide an ongoing payout to a charity or ministry—at MB Foundation, these donors provided a gift that keeps on giving.

MB Foundation invests and manages the endowments and sends payouts to PMBC, which used undesignated funds to help pay for the school supplies.

“When Tami presented the idea to the elders this spring, we knew we didn’t have a lot of time to get the work done,” Byford says. “The greatest benefit of the undesignated endowments was that we knew we had enough money on hand and coming in soon that we could approve the project.”

In addition to contributions from the congregation and legacy gift funds, the church received more than $800 from offerings collected when PMBC and Ebenfeld MB Church partnered for a joint vacation Bible school.

“When Tami presented the idea to the elders this spring, we knew we didn’t have a lot of time to get the work done,” Byford says. “The greatest benefit of the undesignated endowments was that we knew we had enough money on hand and coming in soon that we could approve the project.”

In addition to contributions from the congregation and legacy gift funds, the church received more than $800 from offerings collected when PMBC and Ebenfeld MB partnered for a joint vacation Bible school.

Project made a difference

Responses to the project have been positive, both for the givers and the recipients of the gift.

“Personally, it has been a fun time, a blessing and joy,” Dyck says. “I have heard from many people that (this is) a great thing.”

Byford, too, has received words of thanks.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the gratitude of so many parents,” he says. “We didn’t do this to hear people say, ‘Thank you.’ But, the extreme amount of appreciation tells me that we made a difference in their lives.”

HES principal Evan Yoder wrote a thank-you, printed in PMBC’s bulletin: “Now that school has started and the supplies have all been distributed, it is time to deliver a huge thanks for all you’ve done…. Your entire congregation proved that it was possible for a small group to do great things! Whether they said so or not, I know many families were able to breathe a sigh of relief when school start-up bills were paid due to your tremendous efforts. Again, we (students, teachers, staff and parents) thank you from the bottom of our hearts!”

Ultimately, the project is about serving the Hillsboro community and is something Driggers says the church plans to continue.

“The best outcome of this project would be for the community to know that the church cares about their needs,” Driggers says. “And not just Parkview church. There are many churches in this community that have such a heart and passion for God’s work to be done, and the more we make ourselves a resource for Hillsboro and the surrounding communities, the more others will see the face of God.”

Janae Rempel
Janae Rempel is the Christian Leader assistant editor. She joined the CL staff in September 2017 with six years of experience as a professional journalist. Rempel, is an award-winning journalist, having received three 2016 Kansas Press Association Awards of Excellence. Rempel graduated from Tabor College in 2010 with a bachelor of arts in Communications/Journalism and Biblical/Religious Studies. She attends Hillsboro MB Church.

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