The children at 10th Street play heavily on his mind. He’s often wondered, what can we do to better connect with them?
“By our history, Presbyterians have a long-standing heart for education,” Rice said. “We started all those great Ivy League universities. It’s in our DNA.”
First Presbyterian Church has a relationship with 10th Street dating back some 20 years, including such things as after-school tutoring and lending its sanctuary for school graduations and Christmas parties.
The church took on an even greater role last year by hosting a barbecue fundraiser to help 30 fifth-graders pay for a trip to Washington D.C. The church raised more than $1,600.
But that was last year. Now the stakes are higher, as this year’s class numbers more than 40 students. The Washington, D.C., field trip is scheduled for May 21-26.
“They’re already so excited,” says 10th Street Elementary School principal Dexter Copeland. “They’re tired of being in the classroom and are ready to get on the road.”
This year’s barbecue fundraiser will be 11 a.m.-2 p.m. today in the church’s fellowship hall.
So far, money for this year’s trip has been coming in “rather slowly,” Rice said. “People got real excited the first year and understood the difference they were making in people’s lives. But now we’re in the second year and things have tapered off a bit. We’ve got to find a way to maintain that motivation. This is something that we’re committed to seeing through … no matter what.”
But First Presbyterian isn’t going it alone. Mountain View Church and the Anniston Kiwanis Club have officially adopted 10th Street and are also working to raise money for the school and individual students.
The partnership has already garnered improvements to the playground. Today, a garden is being build that will beautify the school and serve as an outdoor classroom.
Mountain View Church is helping three elementary schools through the national “Blessings in a Backpack” program, which is designed to feed elementary school children who have little or no food on the weekends.
The program is currently feeding 120 children at Alexandria Elementary School, 145 children at 10th Street and 170 children at Cobb Elementary School, every week of the school year.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. today
Where: First Presbyterian Church, 1701 Henry Road, Anniston
Tickets: $7 for a barbecue sandwich, cole slaw, baked beans, a cookie and a drink. Hot dog plates also available.