Henry County Back2School program aims to help 4,000 kids

Program provides kids with socks, shoes, school supplies

HENRY COUNTY, Va. – Volunteers helping coordinate this year's Back2School event in Henry County hope to serve 4,000 kids from the county and surrounding area.

Alan Jones' kids are three of the kids who will be served. 

"I enjoy it a lot," Jones said. "School supplies are getting more expensive every day."

More than a dozen churches are serving as host sites for this year's event.

At each one, kids are fitted for a new pair of shoes from a nonprofit in North Carolina, which they'll receive on Aug. 4 along with a pair of socks and a backpack full of school supplies.

"Things like this, teachers have to provide a lot less in school. I know some of them have to provide their own supplies sometimes, so this helps them out a lot," Jones said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average household income in Henry County is about $31,000 less than the state average and about $24,000 less than the national average.

Almost 20 percent of Henry County's population is in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Martinsville, Danville and Pittsylvania County are similar.

One host site is Community Fellowship Church in Collinsville, where the event started 11 years ago.

Pastor Michael Harrison said the event has helped bring the community together.

"Churches that were not doing a whole lot or seemed not to have much vision, this has given them some encouragement to get up and get in the community," Harrison said.

Katie Whitlow is a volunteer at First Baptist Church in Ridgeway, another host site.

"We're hoping to grow our reach and bring awareness and bring awareness to this program because there is such a need," Whitlow said.

They'll continue that effort Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at each of the host sites.

For a list of host site locations, click here.

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