Night of Blessing prepares students for a successful school year

HORTON-HANOVER, MI. (WILX) - With the new school year already underway for most students, lots of families know how expensive it can be to send kids back to school.

The four churches of Horton-Hanover host 'Night of Blessing.'

That's why four churches in the Horton-Hanover area are working to make sure students go back to class with the supplies they need.

It can cost upward of $100 in school supplies for each student, and that sometimes doesn't even include paying for basic necessities. That's why the four churches of Horton-Hanover host their annual 'Night of Blessing.'

"When you have Methodists, and Congregationalists, and the non-denominational coming together, that says a lot," said Chris Murphy, the Pastor for Horton Congregational.

For four years, the Horton Congregational Church, Pulaski Free Methodist, the Hillside and Beacon Churches have hosted a 'Night of Blessing.'

They pack backpacks with grade-appropriate school supplies and things like socks and underwear for students in need in their districts.

"Through God's leading we came up with this idea and it has just been phenomenal," said Murphy.

"We can serve our community and we can serve our community in a way that meets a significant need," said Michelle Coats, the Pastor at Pulaski Free Methodist.

For the 2019-2020 school year, the churches handed out 300 backpacks.

"I think we end up being blessed more than they are," said Pat Pebley, the Pastor at Hillside Church. "And that's the important part, people are blessed by giving of themselves and it works both ways."

It's in collaboration with area agencies so every family who attends Night of Blessing to get their free school supplies also gets dinner, a free haircut and consultations with places like dentist offices and health clinics.

"We know it's a big deal, we know that this is a a chunk, if you will, that comes off of their plate," said Wendy Valentine, the Pastor at Beacon Church.

For 2019, 47 volunteers were on hand to make sure students get the start they need.

"These four churches are part of the community so it just makes sense that you would hop on board and support it in whatever way you could," said Valentine.

The churches also help during the school year by doing things like sending food home for students on weekend and school breaks.

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