Two local organizations in Greensboro, N.C., will receive support from Conference-goers who attend the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference this summer. The Conference will receive a collection of hygiene items for a project called BackPack Beginnings that supports school children, and a collection of clothing and shoes for the Encore! Boutique Thrift Store and a “Step Up” program for job readiness training.
The mission of BackPack Beginnings is to provide children in need with nutritious food, comfort items, and basic necessities. The organization was started in 2010 by Parker White, a young mother who wanted to help children in need in her community. From a few boxes of food on her dining room table, this organization has grown to a multi-program organization staffed entirely by a huge volunteer network, that now serves more than 4,000 children.
Because Annual Conference takes place when school is out for the summer and the organization does not have an air-conditioned warehouse, Conference-goers are invited to donate hygiene items for Comfort BackPacks. Here’s what is needed, in order of need: toothbrushes, toothpaste, new backpacks, shampoo, new washcloths, spiral notebooks (wide-ruled), combs, hairbrushes, fleece blankets (rolled and tied with a ribbon). To learn more see www.backpackbeginnings.org .
Encore! Boutique Thrift Store
This unique thrift store is part of the ministry of First Presbyterian Church’s Step Up Program. Step Up provides job readiness training, life skills training, and economic stability. After people have completed job readiness training, the Encore! boutique provides professional clothing for people interviewing for and starting new jobs. Encore! also is open to the public for shopping, with proceeds put back into the Step Up training programs. Since Step Up began in July 2011, more than 1,000 people have graduated from the program and more than 500 of the graduates have found full-time employment.
Conference-goers are invited to donate gently used classic clothing, shoes, and accessories for men and women, including business casual and professional attire. The Conference Office notes that “this is not a way to get rid of old jeans and T-shirts. Please bring only dresses, pantsuits, suits, dress shirts, dress pants, belts, shoes, handbags, etc., that are in top-quality condition.” There is a need for plus-sized clothing and shoes for both men and women. To learn more go to www.stepupgreensboro.org and http://stepupgreensboro.org/volunteer/clothing-closet .