BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - On Monday morning, 500 EBR school students will receive some tools that will help them start the school year right.
The First United Methodist Church of Baton Rouge filled 500 backpacks full of school supplies and donated them to Magnolia Woods and Bernard Terrace Elementary schools on Sunday.
"We get excited for new journeys and new adventures. I was excited to fill this backpack up to help somebody get excited about school and start it off the right way," said Fernando Rivera, churchgoer at First United Methodist.
Churchgoers like Rivera were handed empty backpacks over the past two weeks. They were asked to fill them up with school supplies.
"They just ask, and we always do what we can to help," said churchgoer Robert Wooley.
Each backpack was given a grade and church members filled the school supply list corresponding to that grade.
Adrienne Frith, the director of the church's after-school program, HYPE, was one of the people who thought of the idea.
"I've said an idea and I don't expect it to go anywhere, and then the next thing I know somebody is taking it and running with it," said Frith.
Organizers say their efforts added up to around $25,000 in school supplies.
"That backpack carries the love of the person who packed it, the love of this church, and the love of Jesus. That's a lot to be put into that little pack," said George Ragsdale, Executive Director of Children, Youth and Missions at First United Methodist Church of Baton Rouge.
"When you see the outreach, the mission, the love of these people, to see 500 backpacks, but it's not just paper and pencils in those bags. It's the love. It's the outreach. It's the missions and it's God coming into our schools. And we can't be wrong for that," said Supt. Warren Drake of EBR schools.
Drake attended service Sunday morning along with the principals of Magnolia Woods and Bernard Terrace.
Following 11 a.m. service, the backpacks were put onto buses and taken immediately to the elementary schools.
Teachers will pass out the school supplies in the week ahead.