Christian Center’s Back 2 School Basics returns to help Park City children in need
Annual event aims to provide school supplies, new clothes for 550 students
As a former teacher, Pete Stoughton can attest to the difference a new pair of shoes and a backpack stocked full of supplies can make for students on the first day of class.
Stoughton and the Christian Center of Park City are trying to ensure as many children in the Park City area as possible start the school year on the right foot. The nonprofit is returning with its sixth annual Back 2 School Basics event, which aims to provide 550 underserved students with school supplies and new clothes. This year’s event is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 11, from 7:15 to 10:30 a.m. at the Tanger Outlets.
But to meet its goal, the Christian Center needs the community to pitch in. The group is asking as many residents as possible to each donate $100 to sponsor a child, which will go toward providing each student with a gift card for a shopping spree at the outlets. The Christian Center is also seeking volunteers to assist with the event Aug. 11.
“This has really become a cornerstone of not only what we do but why we’re doing everything,” said Stoughton, director of programs for the Christian Center. “It encapsulates meeting people at their point of need, and it’s an opportunity to really elevate our compassion in our community.”
Stoughton said the event is so important because it makes a big impact on the children who participate. It may sound like a small thing, but having new clothes and pencils and paper on the first day of school helps students feel like they fit in and, ultimately, gets them ready to learn.
“At the beginning of a school year, every kid is usually excited to try again,” he said. “A lot of the kids are like, ‘This is my fresh start.’ If they come in ill-equipped, whether it’s without the right school supplies or without new clothes, it’s a barrier that can really impede a kid. It can make them not excited to go back.”
Despite the Christian Center’s efforts, Stoughton acknowledges that there are still hundreds of underserved students who won’t benefit from the event. But that the nonprofit is able to set a lofty objective like helping 550 children — the most ever in the history of Back 2 School Basics — shows that the annual shopping spree continues to raise the level of awareness about the amount of need within Park City’s schools.
“Our larger goal is to get (every kid) supported,” he said. “There are a lot of people doing great stuff and providing resources, but this is one of the areas we’re seeking support.”
For more information about Back 2 School Basics, visit ccofpc.org. The deadline for donations is Aug. 9.
A Park City High School senior facing 18 criminal charges admitted to releasing pepper spray in the school’s lecture hall last month to prevent a conservative school club from hosting an event.