WESTFIELD – “It’s amazing how blessed we are,” said Franklin Avenue Elementary School Principal Christine Tolpa on Aug. 19. when members of the Central Baptist Church Mission Committee delivered 250 filled pencil boxes for students.
Reverend Kathleen O’Goley, who became pastor of the church four months ago, said that when she first came on board, a member who had volunteered at Franklin Avenue mentioned that the school does a lot of reaching out to the community. O’Goley and her secretary then arranged to meet with Tolpa in June.
Tolpa told them one of her concerns about going back to school during the pandemic was supplies. “Normally, when our kids are in classrooms they share pencils and scissors. As a safety precaution, children will be needing their own supplies. Right there, you’re looking at $500 just in pencil boxes,” Tolpa said. Franklin Avenue has anywhere from 200 to 220 students normally.
Tolpa said the pencil boxes, which are filled with crayons, a pencil, eraser, highlighter, kid’s scissor and pencil sharpener, will allow all of the students in the school to have their own with their name on it. “We get new kids all the time, and the extra pencil boxes will go to new students as well,” Tolpa said.
The church also donated 466 children’s masks, and 50 teacher masks with the Franklin Avenue heart logo, which stands for honor, effort, attitude, responsibility and teamwork.
“The missions committee presented this project to the congregation. The supplies including folders, paper towels and masks for the students and staff were collected and made by the members of Central Baptist Church,” O’Goley said. She said Nancy Frisbie made the majority of masks for the children with some helpers, and Sue Ellinger made the heart masks for the teachers.
“The love and effort of many people put all of these supplies together. That helps us with our budget, because these supplies don’t have to come out of our own budget, which then can be used for other things. More importantly, it shows the generosity of our Westfield community,” Tolpa said, adding that many beautiful things like this have happened since COVID-19.