Two hundred 3-16 year olds are going back to school with backpacks, supplies and a little more to think about, thanks to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk and McDonald’s.
The back-to-school send-off was recently hosted at The Kirk, complete with lunch, giveaways and advice from Pastor Bryn MacPhail.
“Just as we are expressing our love for you by these gestures today. We want you to extend your love to those around you when you return to school,” Pastor MacPhail told students, admonishing them to pay attention to studies, but just as importantly to human kindness and decency.
Seven Years Strong
It was the seventh year that the 207-year-old church hosted the back-to-school lunch and supplies event. Most of the youngsters were from neighbouring Bain and Grants Town, one of the inner city’s most densely populated areas.
“No matter how many times we do this, I’m always impressed by how excited and eager these young people are,” said Earla Bethel, Clerk of Session in the church. “Just seeing the light in their eyes and their smiles is reassuring that the future is in good hands. We hope that these students take Pastor MacPhail’s words to heart. If they see someone being treated unkindly or an older student is trying to bully a younger one, they will remember today’s lesson about love and extend that to others. We want them to believe in themselves and to know that they can make a difference in others’ lives.”
Mrs. Bethel, McDonald’s franchise holder for New Providence, has ensured that the popular restaurant chain participates in every year’s back to school event.
“These youngsters are very fashion savvy,” she chuckled. “So we actually have backpacks designed for the event that the kids will be proud to carry. We expect them to have respect for one another so we have to show them the respect they deserve. Then we pack them with all the supplies they need to get a good start for the school year. And then we seal it with love.”