Christian Center goes back to the (school) basics | ParkRecord.com

Christian Center goes back to the (school) basics

For the fifth straight year, the Christian Center of Park City is trying to ensure as many students as possible go back to school in style.

The non-profit organization is readying to hold its annual Back 2 School Basics event, set for August 5, in which underprivileged students are each given a $100 gift card to buy new clothes at the Tanger Outlets. Jenny Mauer, director of programs and volunteers for the Christian Center, said it's one of the highlights of the year for hundreds of children in Park City who seldom get a chance to wear clothes that aren't used or hand-me-downs.

The scope of the program is bigger this year than ever before. Back 2 School Basics started off serving 153 students in 2011, but the goal now is to provide gift cards for 525 children this year. But to do that, Mauer said, the Christian Center needs help. As of Monday, the group was seeking about 400 donations of $100 for the gift cards and needed about 175 volunteers to go shopping with the students.

"Just like the need continues to grow, we're trying to grow with it," she said.

Mauer said the Christian Center is making a particularly strong effort this year to sign up more volunteers. She is confident that once someone gets involved, they'll be eager to do more in the future. That would be one of the best ways to continue increasing the community support for Back 2 School Basics.

"We know a lot of people in Park want a hands-on opportunity," she said. "And we get questions all the time like, 'Who are these people?' It's like, 'Come meet them.' This is a great opportunity to volunteer."

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Another element of the program, Mauer said, is that it builds bridges between the affluent or middle class population and the people in town who sometimes struggle to get by. She said events like this one, where people from different walks of life can come together, help strengthen the community.

"You're going to know these families being helped," she said. "You're going to recognize them from the grocery store or the restaurant, or your kid is going to go to school with their kid. We're not shipping them in from Salt Lake. These are Park City people. That is exactly why we want this to be a Park City event. We want to help our own community."

Back 2 School Basics is scheduled for August 5, at 7:15 a.m., at the Tanger Outlets. To volunteer or donate money or school supplies, or for more information, visit ccofpc.org.