When Kendall Terry started the Back to School Bash three years ago at her church, Wesleyan Christian Center, she had no idea it would do so well. At the time, Terry was just sixteen years old, but that did not stop her from wanting to get involved and make a positive impact on her community. What started as a small scale event has grown quickly over the past few years.
“That first year I started with 75 backpacks. We gave them all away. That’s when I decided to try for more the next year,” Terry said.
Last year, through the event, 275 backpacks stocked full of school supplies were given away to families in need. Terry was thrilled with the response from her friends, family and sponsors within the community to help make this dream become a reality. She would not stop there. This year she exceeded her goal of 500 backpacks and is already setting future goals.
“We have made 519 backpacks so far. We can still use donations for several supplies but I think next year I am going to make it my goal to give away 700,” Terry said.
The supplies are divided into three categories: elementary, middle and high school and will contain nearly everything a student could need to start the school year. Items still needed include 1-inch binders, large plastic pencil boxes, Expo markers, composition notebooks, Ziploc bags, hand sanitizer, scissors, pencil pouches and spiral notebooks. Donations are also welcome so that Terry can purchase hygiene items as well.
“I’ve received donations from Independence bank, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Kentucky Wesleyan College as well as friends and family,” Terry said. “I am so thankful for the support.”
The Back to School Bash will take place from 4:00-6:00 on July 27 at Wesleyan Christian Center. Backpacks are recommended for students from preschool through high school and can be picked up anytime during the event. Terry is looking forward to blessing more people this year than ever before.
“When I started this outreach to help families in need, I never imagined it would grow this much,” Terry said.
Giving back to her community is important to Terry and service projects like this one will become a big part of what she plans to do throughout the year after being named the new Miss Daviess County. Seeing the reaction of each child that comes through is what makes volunteers want to be a part of the event year after year.
“I remember handing a kid a backpack and seeing his face light up with the biggest smile,” Terry said. “That’s what made it all worth it.”
Future plans for expanding the event include partnering with the Junior Civitan group to also provide clothes for students for back to school. This year a separate event is in the works for early August.
For more information or to donate to this year’s Back to School Bash, contact Kendall Terry at 270-314-5157.