Andrea Maddox knows many parents who struggle every year to purchase the growing list of recommended school supplies.

Her younger sister is a single mother with three children, she said , and one who feels the overwhelming effects of starting the school year.

“I know how hard it is come school time to get all these things while taking care of bills and other things,” she said. “You still have to provide for the kids, and you don’t want to put them in an environment where they may get bullied just because they don’t have this or that.”

So Maddox worked with her church, First Samoan Full Gospel Pentecostal Church, to launch the first ever Back-to-School 5K fun run in Copperas Cove.

“We just decided to think of different ways to give back to the community and give back to a lot of lower income families,” she said.

“It seems like the school supply list is getting longer and everybody’s finances are getting cut short.”

The event will include a fun atmosphere for children including bounce houses, face painting, food, drinks and music, Maddox said.

“It’s also a way to get kids physically fit for the upcoming year.”

The church, which has been in Copperas Cove for seven years, focuses on helping families in the community. While giving away raffle prizes and book bags filled with school supplies, church members plan to fellowship with attendees.

“You don’t try to beat somebody in the head with it,” Maddox said. “You provide the good atmosphere for people to know that Christians and people who believe in Christ still have fun, and we are still here to save lives at the same time.”

Maddox encourages all interested participants to think about what they need to stay cool during the event.

“It’s Texas weather so it’s going to be pretty hot, so we will definitely have water out there,” she said. “Bring suntan lotion, hats to block the sun, and light athletic wear.”

She said other churches and vendors interested in prepping children for the school year can also participate in the event. The church also is taking food donations.

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