Christian Center teams with Mountain Town for Back 2 Basics
June 20, 2014
The Christian Center of Park City is serious about its mission to help improve the lives of people and communities through meeting immediate and basic needs.
Not only does it feature a food bank, but it also provides a thrift store and utilizes other programs to help families in need in Park City.
One of those programs is the Back 2 School Basics program, which gives these families and their children an opportunity to buy new clothes and supplies for the upcoming school year, said Rob Harter, executive director of the Christian Center of Park City.
"For the past couple of years, we have taken low-income children ages 5 to 16 from the Park City School District and taken them shopping," Harter said during an interview with The Park Record. "The idea is to provide them with backpacks and some winter clothing — jackets, hats and gloves."
To help fund the program, the Christian Center has teamed with Mountain Town Music and Newpark to host a silent auction fundraiser during the free Dixieland Jazz concert. featuring Blair Crimmins & The Hookers, at the Newpark Plaza on Thursday, June 26,
Mountain Town Music and Newpark spotlight a featured nonprofit organization at each of these concerts and the Christian Center of Park City was selected for that evening.
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The silent auction will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the music will begin at 6 p.m.
"We will have 32 items up for auction that people will have the opportunity to bid on," Harter said. "We will make announcements at the beginning and midway through the concert and then we will announce the winners at the end of the night."
Auction items include a pair of Hart skis that retail for $900, Salt Lake Bees tickets, a scuba experience, dog-training classes and Living Planet Aquarium tickets.
"Many boutiques on Main Street have also donated gift certificates, and Cole Sports has donated some items as well," Harter said. "The idea is to raise awareness about our Back 2 Basics program and to raise some money towards it as well."
The goal is to come up with $100 per child that will be used to purchase Tanger Outlet gift cards.
"We will take them shopping at the outlets on Friday, Aug. 8," Harter said. "The outlets are working with us closely and have provided extra discounts, as high as 50 percent off, for that day."
Park City School District administrators and principals selected the children that will participate in the shopping.
"We work the district and encouraged them to select and invite the students and their parents to get involved with the program," Harter said. "These are all kids who qualify for the district’s free or reduce-priced lunches program."
In addition, the Christian Center held a sign-up day at the Christian Center about a month ago.
This year, there are about 500 children on the list.
"Unfortunately for a lot of these kids, getting new school clothes is not a reality for them, and far too often, these kids have clothes that don’t fit," Harter said. "They come to school in pants that are too short and shoes that are too small or have holes in them and that becomes such a distraction in their education."
Harter’s hope is to remove those distractions through the Back 2 School Basics program.
"To give them a chance to go shopping is a really fun thing," he said. "I tell people to think about how fun it is to go out and buy at least one new outfit for school, so they will see how fun it is for these kids."
However, the fun won’t just be enjoyed by these children and their families, Harter said.
"We would love to have one volunteer per child or per family that has up to three kids to go shopping with them," he said. "Over the past couple of years, it has been fun to see people from two different communities come together that wouldn’t typically come together to go shopping.
"Being a volunteer gives the opportunity for people in our town who want to give back," Harter said. "We have seen a lot of barriers and walls that came down during these activities."
Volunteers can sign up by visiting the Christian Center’s website, http://www.ccofpc.org .
In addition, school administrators have seen a change come over the students who participate in the program.
"Two years ago, we talked with a teacher at McPolin Elementary who works with students who have struggled because of economic issues," Harter said. "She said that year was the best start for school for the students she works with up to that time."
The teacher attributed a lot of that success to the Back 2 School Basics program.
"She saw a marked difference in these children’s attitudes in her classroom," Harter said. "These kids who were able to get new clothes, school supplies and shoes felt confident about themselves.
"We want to thank Mountain Town Music and Newpark for letting us do this," he said. "It means a lot to us."
During the free Blair Crimmins & The Hookers concert at Newpark Plaza at Kimball Junction on Thursday, June 26, the Christian Center of Park City will host its Back 2 School Basics program fundraiser and silent auction. The auction will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the music will begin at 6 p.m. For more information about the fundraiser, visit http://www.ccofpc.org . For more information about the concert, visit http://www.mountaintownmusic.org.
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