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Free backpack giveaway held

“We Are His Hands and Feet” held a free backpack giveaway Saturday morning at the Drakes Branch Pavilion for families in need.

“This year we donated backpacks and/or supplies to 132 children,” said one of the event’s organizers, Ariel Eppes.

All students who received a backpack were required to attend Charlotte County Public Schools and be enrolled in Pre-k-12.

During last year’s event, 120 children received backpacks/schools supplies and 74 backpacks were given out to the children of the community.

“We started in 2017 and plan to do the giveaway in years to come,” said Eppes. “The idea came from a church we had been attending a few years ago. They did a backpack giveaway.”

Eppes said the following year, she approached the church about doing the backpack giveaway again, however they were unable because of timing and prior obligations for other events.

“I contacted my mom because I was really disappointed and had really been looking forward to doing it and she told me well let’s just do it ourselves, so that’s how “His Hands and Feet” began,” she said.

Eppes said over the years, she and her mom sat in church hoping to be used and to serve the community.

She said they wanted Jesus to use them as his hands and feet.

Additionally, Eppes said the event is special because 100 percent of the donations for the school supplies and backpacks goes to helping others.

“We had parents and children that came this year that received backpacks/supplies last year,” she said. “We are building relationships and trust with people. We are giving away these backpacks and supplies with no expectations in return.”

Eppes said people will often see their group shopping for backpacks and supplies and ask if they are teachers.

“We get to tell them about what we are doing,” she said.

In addition, Eppes said when children receive supplies, they are given a cardstock with a bible verse printed on it to remind them of Jesus’s love for them.

This year, she said the verse came from 1 John 3:18.

“Our main focus and goal is to just share love to people and give back to the community as much as we are able to,” said Eppes.