York-area church hosts free back-to-school shopping event


Back-to-school shopping can get expensive, so a local church decided to host a unique shopping day that offers a range of clothing and supplies, and there will be no pricetags attached.

That's right parents, you can leave the wallets at home for this shopping spree.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, at Pleasureville United Methodist Church, 2606 North Sherman St., York.

"We started it because we all have this back-to-school shopping trip, and it's kind of stressful for families who have a hard times making ends meet," said parishioner and volunteer Kelly Gibson.

"Kids always come back to school in new clothes and new shoes, and they also need their backpacks and books, you know, all their supplies."

Shop: Now in its fourth year, volunteers have doled out free items to more than 400 community members each year, Gibson estimated, adding, "Every year there's a line that wraps all the way around the parking lot."

The shopping day will offer a range of necessities, including shoes, bags, backpacks, hats and clothing items in a wide variety of sizes for children and adults. All items are free, and all community members can take as much as they like. A snack bar also will be open with complimentary refreshments for shoppers.

"For many families in our community, back to school shopping is a stressful time because they just don't have the money," said Amber DeLouis, event organizer.

"We wanted to host an event where the kids can have fun picking out outfits that are new to them and look forward to starting school without the worry of where the money will come from."

Helping out: Donations for the event are being accepted at the Pleasureville United Methodist Church through Aug. 15.

"Baby items are always really popular," Gibson said. "We need children's clothing, I mean really infants' clothing all the way up to young adults, and accessories are always good, too, as well as any school items like backpacks or books."

Gibson also added that although the weather is warm now, clothing items for winter also are needed.

"It's always a challenge to get those types of donations," she said. "People want to give us summer clothes because they still have summer on the brain, but we could also use things like winter coats, sweaters and snow boots."

Gibson said she's always felt that the event has both helped those in need and brought joy to those who are just excited about the school year.

"You see so many people who are families, and you just know that it's making an impact. It's just so good to see how happy they are when they pick out their new clothes and supplies," Gibson said.

"We really have the things that every kid needs to start the year right."

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