The Bridge Church in Murrieta is holding its third annual Back to School Bash on Sat., Aug. 9 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Backpacks filled with school supplies will be given away to students in need on a first come, first serve basis and they must be present to receive one. Students will also be given donated clothing, haircuts and sports physicals.
The free bash will feature a pancake breakfast, live music and bounce houses. Also, Christian radio stations Air1 and KSDW will be present broadcasting the morning’s events.
The church’s Connect Pastor Zac Martin said that this year’s bash will be their biggest yet. Last year they gave away 500 backpacks and this year it’s been increased to 1,000.
“We had to turn away many, many people last year so that’s why we made the decision to double our backpacks this year,” he said. They also plan on increasing the number of hairdressers from 20 to 40 because of the last year’s need for more haircuts.
“There’s a statistic out there that 11 percent of children in Riverside County won’t start school on time because they don’t have supplies,” Martin said, explaining why the non-denominational Christian church sponsors the bash. “We knew that there was something we could do in our valley to fix the problem.”
The bash is part of the church’s Community Care program that serves about 75 families each week. “Every Sunday we give away free food and clothing to people,” Martin said. The clothing and food are mainly donated by church members. Some food pantries in Perris and Norco also donate to the program.
Church member Mike Bebout oversees the Community Care events and is coordinating the bash. Martin said that over 100 church members have volunteered to help in some way with it. About 20 of the volunteers spent time stuffing two different styles of backpacks with every imaginable school supply. One backpack style is for elementary school students and the other is for middle and high school students.
Donations for the bash come from Richie’s Diner, Organic Roots, Starbucks and church members. Plus, there was a “generous grant from Walmart,” Martin said. Large tents are being be provided by Premier Party and Tent Rentals and will be set up in the church’s parking lot for the bash.
A local Cub Scout pack is putting on the pancake breakfast and a church member who’s a physician is conducting the sports physicals. Some church members who play musical instruments are performing live for entertainment.
The church is located at 38801 Calistoga Drive. For more information, contact the church at (951) 600-9112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.