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Baltimore Churches Work To Make Back-To-School Shopping Easier

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A handful of West Baltimore churches join forces to make back-to-school shopping a little easier for parents and students this weekend.

As Gigi Barnett explains, thousands of children will head to class ready, thanks to the Back to School Jam.

This is how some parents need to do their back-to-school shopping–with a hand truck loaded with supplies.

At this weekend’s Back to School Jam–hosted by the West Baltimore Clergy United group–many of them did.

“We got crayons; we have everything,” said Janine Nash and Lorraine Moultrie. “We have glue.”

Nash and Moultrie are sisters. Between the two of them, they have nine grandchildren. This weekend’s event at Coppin State University completes their shopping list–at no cost.

“We got stuff for them at Walmart, and it was nice, but it’s nothing compared to this stuff. It’s free,” Moultrie said.

“I was wondering how I was going to get school supplies,” said Joanne Smith.

Smith just got custody of her seven-year-old grandson, Christian. School supplies quickly became a priority.

“It’s kind of difficult at the last moment and this was the last moment,” Smith said.

A total of eight churches collected supplies and food for roughly 2,000 students.

Dr. Karen Bethea’s church, Set the Captives Free, is part of the group. She says children with proper supplies are better prepared to learn.

“I taught for 18 years in Baltimore County,” she said. “So I’m familiar with what it looks like when the child is hungry and can’t concentrate. I know the importance of them having proper nutrition and supplies.”

The churches will help at least 400 families this weekend. When the event is over, they will contact those families to make sure the supplies and information helped.

This was the eighth year the West Baltimore Clergy United group hosted the Back to School Jam. Organizers say they’re looking for more churches to sign on to collect supplies.

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