NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - On one busy night at Menchville Baptist Church, members were hard at work in the church's gym, stuffing backpacks in an assembly-line operation.
It was a group effort that started with one question, says Mary Jo Peavey-Smith.
"We asked everybody in our church family, 'What do you think is the best way we can reach out to our community?' and the number one thing for this year was our schools," she said.
Peavey-Smith is one of the church's co-chairs of a committee that organizes community outreach efforts.
The organizers say it's taken weeks for them to collect all of the supplies, which included 1,400 notebooks, 800 boxes of crayons and hundreds of water bottles, packs of paper and glue sticks.
The supplies will be going to schools near the church, like B.C. Charles and Jenkins Elementary Schools and Menchville High, which is right across the street.
Sharon Raha, another organizer of this effort, shares the church was very intentional in choosing these schools.
"Well, it's important because we have three schools right within walking distance from the church and it's very important we let them know how much we love them and how much we care about the children and their success," Raha said.
Some of the church members helping with the school supplies drive are educators themselves - not in the schools they're donating to, but still aware of the challenges some families face. They include educators like Kelly Denny, a public school principal.
"Kids who don't have what they need to get supplies are going to be blessed by these donations, and so it's help to these families that may not have the funds to get the supplies they see on the list," Denny said.
Mallary Brown is a teacher - not at the school receiving the donations, but still glad her church was taking action this way.
"I was very excited to be a part of this; very blessed to be able to give back to the community and make this impact in these children's lives," Brown said.
The price tag of all these supplies: well over $10,000.
That's why News 3 is presenting Menchville Baptist Church with a People Taking Action award, along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.
They were both very grateful, and to no surprise, they say they will use the gift card to get more school supplies.