It was a happy and busy time at the City of Faith Christian Center in Lakewood on August 27, as families of all sizes and types streamed in throughout the day for August 18.e Annual back-to-school party. Children received backpacks full of supplies to get the school year off to a good start – 1,500 were distributed in total – and plenty of other services and entertainment were on the way for the day for all ages.
Everyone was invited to participate in everything during the event and everything was free. No one has had to prove their income, enrollment in the school district, or that they live in Lakewood or Pierce County — and that’s exactly what City of Faith Christian Center senior pastor Kevin Rogers wants. .
“It’s a waste of time going through the paperwork. If they need it, they need it, so we keep restocking until it’s all gone,” he said.
Donations for school supply distribution and raffles came from all kinds of generous people, businesses and organizations. Many people also volunteered their time at the event. Sheri Mitchell was there as community outreach program manager for MultiCare Center for Health Equity and Wellbeing. She and her crew brought the MultiCare Health System and Mary Bridge Children’s mobile vaccination clinic provide all the vaccines children need to go to school.
The MultiCare Health System and Mary Bridge Children’s Mobile Immunization Clinic provided all the vaccines children need to go to school.
“We host many mobile pop-up clinics in communities around the Puget Sound area and southern King County,” Mitchell said. “We make sure to reach underserved disparate communities and BIPOC communities to ensure that we increase vaccination rates in those communities.”
At Classy & Sassy Braids & Beyond, owner Yvette Evans and a group of students from BJ’s Beauty & Barber College provided haircuts and hair care for boys and girls. This year attracted more young customers than ever, with more than 85 children coming to sit in the barber chair.
“I had a lady who said she had five children and she couldn’t afford all of them to have a haircut. She said it was such a relief after buying the clothes for her. school they needed,” Evans said. “It’s a good feeling to see the parents are relieved that their child can get a haircut, and to see the smiles on the children’s faces is also a blessing.
This year, Evans gave away small gift bags and next year she will have even more to offer. A few local salons have already offered to save the samples of hair care products they receive so they can be donated to Evans for gift bags.
A long line stretched outside the room where community health staff were giving sports physical exams, and the Pulse Heart Institute was performing electrocardiogram (ECG) tests to monitor children’s heart health .
Pastor Kevin and his wife Verndella were among the crowd throughout the day.
The Safe Streets table kept busy making children’s ID cards and a few tables down Jennifer Quinn and her son Anson Martin got the kids excited about math. A volunteer at Tacoma Math, part of the Graduate Tacoma STEAM learning network, Quinn teaches math at the University of Washington-Tacoma and is also president of the Math Association of America.
“We’re trying to change the culture of math and make everyone love it,” Quinn said. “Mathematics isn’t about getting the answer right. It’s about thinking about it and being able to explain what you did and understand why you did it,” which teaches kids how to think to problems in a methodical and logical manner.
The Bash also included a job fair, where older attendees could learn more about companies that were there with applications and ready to hire on the spot.
Every year, officers from the Lakewood Police Department come to meet with families and talk to children about safety. Officer Nile Teclemariam has been attending the back-to-school party for four years.
Amerigroup was recognized for its generosity as a sponsor with a framed certificate and special plaque.
“It’s a big event. Everyone comes together and we’re lucky and grateful to be part of it,” he said.
To publicly thank major sponsors, Pastor Kevin and his wife Verndella presented framed certificates of appreciation to the Lakewood Police Department, MultiCare and Amerigroup Health Insurance Company, who also received a special plaque for their generous financial donations and school supplies.
“We want to help and empower people, especially children,” Pastor Kevin told the crowd at the awards ceremony. “It takes a community of not just people, but businesses in the community to come together and hold themselves accountable. That’s something we want people to know.
Visit cityoffaithcc.org and City of Faith Christian Center on Facebook to learn more about how Pastor Kevin and First Lady Verndella are caring for underserved communities. All are welcome to the free monthly grocery giveaway on September 17 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and every third Saturday of the month in partnership with St. Leo Food Connection.