STEUBENVILLE - An uncertain moment quickly turned into organized lines and smiles Monday afternoon as Urban Mission Ministries and the Brothers and Sisters Intelligensia Crew Circle handed out more than 1,000 book bags filled with school supplies.
"This is the first year we held this event in our parking lot and we had a lot of people show up at noon. But our staff and volunteers, along with the B.A.S.I.C. Circle volunteers got everyone organized into the correct line and everything went smoothly after that," said the Rev. Ashley Steele, executive director of Urban Mission Ministries.
At one point a city fire truck with a public address system was requested from the nearby fire department headquarters so organizers could address the hundreds of people who surrounded the large tent holding the school supplies.
PICKING UP SCHOOL SUPPLIES — Marianna Bable and Elijah McCormick received pencils from Angela Suggs of Eastern Gateway Community College during Monday’s back to school rally in the Urban Mission Ministries parking lot in Steubenville. Hundreds of children stopped by the school supply giveaway hosted by the Urban Mission Ministries and Brothers and Sisters Intelligensia Crew Circle during the four-hour event. - Dave Gossett
According to Sharon Kirtdoll of the Urban Mission Ministries, "we have annually given away between 400 and 500 book bags. But this year we were approached by B.A.S.I.C. Circle about joining forces and we agreed. So we have packed more than 1,000 book bags. This is a larger crowd than normal, but we are progressing smoothly. We have lots of volunteers here today helping in a number of different ways."
The book bag give away was the 19th straight year for the B.A.S.I.C. Circle event.
"B.A.S.I.C. Circle couldn't hold their traditional back-toschool rally at Harding Stadium this year for different reasons. But we prepared for a large crowd and are ready to help area kids get ready to go back to school," said Steele.
"We are providing students from kindergarten through high school seniors with a book bag and almost all of the school supplies on their teachers' list. That's important in our current economy," said Steele.
Heather Muckle of Steubenville said the help "is really important because I have several kids. This is a big help because school supplies can get so expensive when they go back to school."
Sara Green of Steubenville brought her five children to the event, but also spent time volunteering during the day.
"This is an important day because the extra help today allows the kids to get started on the right track at school. A lot of people can't afford buying all of the supplies they need for school. This campaign helps kids throughout the community," noted Green.
Fourth Ward Councilwoman Angela Suggs stood at a nearby tent passing out balloons, pencils and highlighters from Eastern Gateway Community College.
"We want to do our part to help the community and to stress the importance of education," Suggs said.
"I think it's important for kids to start off on the right foot for school, and I think if we have the ability through donations that we've received to give back then we want to do our part this time of the year and help the schools in whatever way we can," stated Steele.