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Local church brings uniforms, smiles and support to East students

Members of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Monroe drop off 142 East Elementary uniforms. (Below) Pictured, from left, are East Elementary Principal Denny Ferguson, Rev. Dennis Washburn, Barbara Carter, Betty Ann Thompson, Pastor Kenneth Fink, East Elementary counselors Paul Debnam and Jennifer Lodge and Linda McCoy, chairman of the St. Luke’s Lutheran Outreach Committee.

Thanks to the generosity of a local Lutheran church, many students at East Elementary School started the school year with bright new uniforms.

When St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Monroe reached its 125th anniversary in early August, some of its members decided to celebrate that momentous event by helping children in the community who are less fortunate.

One of the church’s members, Jennifer Wallace, is also a teacher at East Elementary. She informed the committee that there were students at her school who had only one uniform or were wearing clothes that didn’t fit.

“They may have a uniform two sizes too small, or maybe it’s a couple of years old and is passed down from a sibling,” said East Elementary principal Denny Ferguson.

“Having clean, well-fitted uniforms gives them the self confidence that they need,” Ferguson added. “Every body likes to feel good about themselves, so they can go engage the content and be more successful. It helps them feel proud and look sharp.”

Upon hearing of this need, the church’s outreach committee challenged the congregation to purchase 125 red, white or navy blue polo shirts in varying sizes. The shirts ranged in cost from $5 to $7 per shirt.

“We wanted to do something for our community,” said Linda McCoy, chairman of the St. Luke’s Lutheran Outreach Committee. “We’ve been working with East Elementary School for a couple of years. We have collected shirts for them before, but never this many.”

Members of the congregation took the challenge to heart and stepped up in a big way, surpassing the 125 uniform goal and bringing in 142 uniforms.

“That was pretty awesome,” McCoy said. “What a wonderful way to celebrate our service to the community. It worked out great. We’re a small church but we have a big heart. We do a lot for the local community. We do things local, nationally and internationally.”

Principal Ferguson said that having organizations like the Lutheran church provide uniforms for the less fortunate students of his school helps on a much larger scale than the school is capable of doing on its own.

“We couldn’t help on as large a scale as these organizations can,” Ferguson said. “It all comes together to provide those basic needs that we know the kids need; things they have to have to be able to be successful – clothes, food and being nurtured.”

“They help us meet those basic needs,” Ferguson said. “They help us reach the kids’ hearts, so we can reach their minds.”

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Aug 29, 2014 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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