DALTON, GA -- Rock Bridge Community Church has surpassed its goal of providing all school supplies for the 472 children at Roan Elementary School and has now committed to providing resources to two additional schools this fall through its Summer Bag Pack initiative.

Tony Helton, Rock Bridge’s Dalton Campus Pastor, says the church began working toward the initial goal in June.  Congregants participated in the initiative by purchasing school supplies from a supply list, as well as through financial contributions.

“We know that school supply lists have grown significantly over the past several years as needs have increased and budgets have decreased,” Helton says.  “We also know that when families are unable to purchase the supplies, teachers often foot the bill from their own pockets.  This is our way of saying to teachers and families, ‘What you are doing matters and you have our support.’”

The Summer Bag Pack initiative is part of an ongoing relationship between Rock Bridge and Roan School.  In 2013, Rock Bridge committed to serving as a resource to Roan School.  Since then, Rock Bridge has invested in Roan School through a variety of resources, such as classroom sponsorships, mentorships, character education, and weekend snacks for students who are at risk of food insecurity.

“We sort of adopted the school and fell in love,” Helton says.  “I’ve been so impressed with the level of compassion the Roan staff has for the students, and our people have really latched onto the kids, too.  It’s great to see kids light up when they see a Rock Bridge volunteer in the hallway.  The kids know we care, and I really believe that inspires them to do their best.”

Rock Bridge staff and volunteers distributed the supplies to students and parents at Roan School’s orientation.

Roan School Principal Cindy Parrott says news of the supply drive has generated excitement among teachers and parents.  “The community is so excited about [the supply drive],” Parrott says.  “I've talked to several teachers, and it means so much to them because a lot of [the supplies] come out of their pocket books.  And then we have families that have multiple children in their homes, and sometimes you have to just buy the necessity items first, and they're not able to do both.”

With two weeks remaining in the Summer Bag Pack initiative, Rock Bridge has raised more than enough supplies and funds to cover Roan School’s supply needs.  The additional resources will be used to meet needs at Blue Ridge Elementary School and Valley Point Middle School.