Supplying hope

Published 1:57 am Sunday, August 14, 2011

Five-year-old Imani Reddick cradles a box of Crayola pencils Saturday during a school supply drive at Metropolitan AME Zion Church in Washington. (WDN Photo/Jonathan Clayborne)

Ann Windley-Freeman sat on a folding metal chair in a little office at Washington’s Metropolitan AME Zion Church.
Outside, in a dining hall, children excitedly stocked up on school supplies arranged by grade level on round tables.
Freeman and the children were there for the church’s third-annual charitable drive linking students with tools they need for education.
Freeman left no doubts about the inspiration for sacrificing her Saturday.
“I am a humble servant of the Lord,” she said. “I help wherever there is no willing hand to help.”
In 2010, 121 people trooped through Metropolitan’s basement in search of school supplies. Most, if not all, the parents and guardians who filed by couldn’t afford to buy these supplies on their own, volunteers related.
As in last year’s drive, church members and other donors contributed the items on hand – pencils, notebooks and other instructional essentials.
“We believe in education here at Metropolitan,” Freeman pointed out.
Metropolitan’s partners in this endeavor include First South Bank of Washington, which provided a $500 scholarship to purchase supplies, and a Dollar General location, the staff of which accepted donations in a large cardboard box placed in their store.
Among the helpers present Saturday was Phedora Johnson, a Spanish teacher at Washington High School.
“I like being here because I get to see what the high school student table looks like since I’m a high school teacher, and I get to meet new students,” Johnson said. “I like connecting with the parents before they even get in the schoolhouse.”
Freeman said the supply drive originated with a clothing charity largely organized by fellow volunteer Antromeed Johnson and her family. The supply drive eventually grew into a separate school-related initiative also steered by the church.
LaTreva Kittrell turned out Saturday with her children, Malachi Kittrell, age 9, and Joshua Kittrell, age 7.
Asked whether the pair was ready to return to school this month, the mother replied with a smile, “Might as well be. Might as well face it, it’s coming.”
For more information on the supply drive, call Freeman at 252-721-3109 or the Rev. David Moore, pastor of Metropolitan, at 252-946-1668.