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Free school clothes and shoes for Brookhaven area students

Free clothes and shoes for students going back to school — that is what’s available Saturday at the Alexander Teen Center.

Talking with friends and neighbors, Valerie Moore — Brookhaven Parks and Recreation employee and wife of Ward 2 Alderman Shannon Moore — said she discovered a common theme among a lot of single mothers and parents of school-age children. They were grateful for the local organizations that were providing school supplies for their children, but they still had a need for clothes and shoes.

So the Moores got busy. They went to their church and friends for help and began asking for assistance through Facebook.

“You know, this is the time when people go through and clean out their closets looking to see what their children can still wear for school,” said Moore.

Unneeded items are generally donated to places like Goodwill or the Salvation Army, but Moore would rather see them stay local.

“These clothes are not being recycled back into the community,” she said.

The Moores are asking for donations of gently-used clothing and shoes which will be sorted and offered at no cost to any parent who needs them for their student children.

“We will have volunteers there to work with families as they come in,” said Moore, “and help them get what they need. We want them to leave with clothes and shoes their child can actually wear.”

School supplies and items for adults will be available, as well.

The Teen Center, located at 456 Rogers St., will be open 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday. Donations will be accepted through Thursday.

For drop-off information, call or text Moore at 601-695-0556.

Supplies collected

Alexander Junior High teacher Laura Ann Walker collects supplies all throughout the school year. Parents with extra supplies or gently-used backpacks can drop them off at her classroom and she’ll get them to the students who need the items the most.

Though that’s primarily at Alexander, Walker gives supplies to students elsewhere if she knows about the need. She’ll get the materials to them, or arrange a way that child can get what they need.

“If this is one way I can help make a student feel special, I want to do it,” Walker said, “and just be Jesus to them.”

St. Mark Lodge and Electra Chapter 24 will host its second annual back-to-school giveaway Saturday at noon at Fannie Mullins School.

Volunteers will be giving away backpacks for all ages and each will be filled with school supplies.

Jimmy Johns, a Brookhaven auto salesman and former University of Alabama football linebacker, collected school supplies donated by several individuals and businesses in the area. Sunday, Johns gave away 100 filled backpacks to students who needed them.

“I gave them out, but a lot of people helped put them together,” said Johns. “And you know, they really appreciated it, getting these backpacks.”

City of Grace Church, located at 216 Martin Luther King Drive in Brookhaven, is also reaching out to students with supplies for school.

“We have the school supplies list that the schools provide,” said Pastor Jerry Case, “so when we give them out to the students it will be exactly what they need.”

This will be the ninth year that City of Grace Church has participated in a back-to-school supplies drive. The supplies will be distributed as needed.

“I was always taught that in order to be blessed, you must be blessing. To be able to be a blessing to someone in need is my favorite thing about this,” Case said. “We’re just trying to support the community.”

The Living Word Faith Ministry Church is also having its annual back-to-school backpacks drive.

“We’ve been doing this for several years,” said Rev. Jerry Wilson. “We see the need in the community and try to be a blessing to people. My wife and I work together on this and we just love to see the smile on kids faces when they get their backpacks.”

Wilson is a Lincoln County Supervisor for District 1. His wife, Mary Wilson, is Ward 3 alderwoman for Brookhaven.

Backpack pick-up will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 300 South First St. in front of the Lincoln County Government Complex building on Saturday.