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Community Last Updated: Aug 31, 2017 - 12:53:16 PM

St. Andrew’s Kirk, Mcdonald’s send 200 youngsters back to school with backpacks, supplies and lessons about love
By Diane Philips
Aug 31, 2017 - 10:12:10 AM

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Children don their backpacks filled with school supplies provided by St. Andrews Presbyterian Kirk.

  Two hundred children from 3-16 years old are returning to school in the coming days with backpacks, supplies and a little more to think about.

They’re the fortunate students who got a back-to-school send-off at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk on August 22, complete with lunch, practical giveaways and words of wisdom 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.

It was the seventh year that the 207-year-old church in the heart of town hosted the back-to-school lunch and supplies event for youngsters from neighbouring Bain and Grant’s Town, one of the inner city’s most densely populated areas.

Students enjoying a lunch provided by McDonald’s during the back-to-school event hosted by St. Andrews Presbyterian Kirk.

“No matter how many times we do this, I never fail to be impressed by how excited and eager these young people are, particularly the little ones,” 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 and if they see someone being treated unkindly or an older student is trying to bully a younger one, they will remember the lesson about the love being shown to them today 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, who holds the McDonald’s franchise 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 pens, pencils, and rulers, all the supplies they need to get a good start for the school year and we seal it with love.”  

Ready for back to school and they’re lovin’ it! For the 7th year, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk and McDonald’s teamed up to send students from Bain and Grants Town back to school in style with lunch, words of wisdom to guide them and backpacks packed with supplies.

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