The United Methodist Church of Anoka hosted its sixth annual United for the Community back-to-school event Aug. 24.
Hundreds lined up outside of the church before the event began at 5 p.m. As many as 500 were expected to come through the church before the event wrapped up at 8 p.m.
Anoka-Hennepin students were able to collect school supplies. Children’s books and clothing were also available for families to take home.
“My kids are very excited about getting new school supplies,” Traci Yang said.
Her children, Avi, Diamond, Cyrstal and Harvard Yang, were grinning widely as they collected bags of school supplies less than two weeks before classes begin in the Anoka-Hennepin School District.
Back-to-school haircuts were available for youngsters at no cost, and other booths offered additional health and education resources.
Families had the opportunity to purchase dinner at cost and could snack on free popcorn while listening to World Beat Connection perform live.
Inflatables, face painting, balloon animals and more entertained kids outside the church.
“It’s a wonderful community project,” said Rick Fossum, interim senior pastor at UMCA. “We have many, many volunteers.”
Volunteers like Julie Hammel, co-chairperson of the event with Jim January, see great worth in such outreach.
“Our church provides hope by making disciples in our community,” Hammel said.