Shopping at Parades

By: 
TERESA DOWLING
Staff Writer

When it comes to parades, most people expect to receive candy, toys or flyers for this year’s SummerFest parade will feature a different kind of exchange. Wayne Street United Methodist Church will be collecting school supplies from the crowds lining the parade route. 

With it being back to school season, those in need are also doing their back to school shopping but the cost can be a burden. To alleviate that burden, Wayne Street has partnered with Agape Ministries Inc. and the United Methodist Festival of Sharing to help provide school supplies locally and internationally to those who may not be able to buy them on their own. 

Borrowing an idea he got from one of his previous churches, Rev. Tim Benjamin and members of Wayne Street Church will be pushing shopping carts along Wayne Street, onto Spring Street as they collect school supplies from the crowd watching the parade.

The items Benjamin and his church are looking to collect include wide-ruled spiral notebooks, crayons, glue sticks, No. 2 yellow pencils and boxes of tissues. From the shopping carts on the parade route, the supplies will be divided and donated so they can be distributed before school starts later this summer.

“You’ll know we’re coming because the Awaken band will be playing in the parade much like they did last year,” Benjamin said. “We turned in our application for the parade much earlier this year so hopefully we’re toward the front so people won’t have to hold onto the supplies too long.”

Those who forget to bring their school supplies to the parade are also invited to bring the items to Wayne Street Church or Agape Ministries any time during regular business hours. 

Benjamin, however, is excited at the prospect of doing something unique at the parade.

“I come from a town even smaller than St. Marys so I know how much these fairs and festivals mean to these small towns,” he said. “I’m happy to be a part of something so big in this area and celebrating who we are by coming together and enjoying each other’s company.

“At Wayne Street, we always want to have everything we do have a local component to it so to be able to do this is a good opportunity to make an impact at home.”